What is the CTU?
For more than 75 years the Chicago Teachers Union has been the voice for professionals who are employed in Chicago Public Schools. We are one of America’s leading labor unions representing more than 25,000 teachers, clinicians, and paraprofessionals working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Chicago Federation of Labor and the AFL-CIO is the third largest education union local in the country and the largest in Illinois.
What does CTU do?
We organize, we protect and we defend public education in Chicago. We have an organization that represents us; and puts the needs of educators and the students and families we serve at the foot of the people who wield power in Chicago. When we speak and act collectively, we have a powerful voice in our workplaces, our communities, and in Springfield, to affect change.
Are you new to CPS? It’s a large bureaucracy that chews up and spits out many educators. Being a member of the CTU means you’re not alone. Our union represents educators and support staff at every single public school operated by the district as well as 35 unionized charter schools. Our unity and collective strength help us advocate and win for important professional issues like class size, teaching and learning conditions.
CTU’s Vision for Chicago vs. Rahm’s vision.
Elites prioritize their vision of Chicago as a ”global city”, built around finance, technology, law, management, and incidentally, tourism. Because of these priorities, the disparities between wealth and poverty in the city are stark. They are also racialized, as the poor are more likely to be African American or Latinx. Working class people are segregated and pushed out of the city. This explains why schools don’t have money for libraries and clinicians but the city can offer wealthy corporations millions in tax breaks to move to Chicago.
CTU’s vision is for a city where working people can make a living, have decent health care, be able to afford a place to live, and send their children to good public schools. This is a package deal. Conditions in schools don’t improve if living conditions for our students and their families don’t improve. This is why CTU is committed to fighting for affordable housing, living-wage jobs, and racial justice, as part of the fight for the schools our students deserve.
For public schools to thrive they must be properly staffed with a full allotment of teachers, paraprofessionals, librarians, clinicians such as nurses, social workers and school psychologists, and more. CTU is committed to fighting for progressive revenue to fund these positions.
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Illinois is now “right to work for less.” Beat the anti-union attack. Join CTU!
This 2018 update to CTU’s 2012 report provides a counter-narrative to the corporate agenda on education and highlights the role of CTU’s campaigns, including for contracts, in fighting it.