Press Release: CPS Instructs Principals to Document Legal Union Activity As Teachers Fight For a Fair Contract
BY STEPHANIE GADLIN, MEDIA RELATIONS DIRECTOR | 08/20/2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 20, 2012
CHICAGO— A confidential email recently obtained by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) encourages principals to closely monitor school employees for union activity. All Union activity is protected under federal and state law. The communication was written and distributed by Chicago Public School officials as a precursor to a strike.
This communication is equally troubling because today, as CTU members conducted informational picketing outside various schools, some principals threatened to discipline employees as instructed by CPS’ legal department, according to CTU organizers who spoke with those school administrators.
The disturbing CPS directive instructs principals to report what CPS perceives as Union related activities “via E-Verify” and report the action as a “Harassment/Threat type incident.” It also reads: “We are asking you to report any activities that cause a disruption to the school day. Examples of such activity cited in the email include the following:
Slowdowns of work
Temporary or intermittent walk-outs or sit-downs
Refusals to perform assigned duties
“Sick outs” or other abuse of sick days
“work to rule” actions where employees perform duties in accordance with the expired collective bargaining agreement
Other job actions that undermine supervisory authority and deleteriously affect the mission and goals of the Chicago public school system…”
CTU President Karen GJ Lewis said, “I am highly disturbed by the contents of this email. We have been very open and honest about these negotiations and our efforts to prepare our members and the public for a potential strike. Chief among my concerns is what CPS plans to do with the information and how the database will be used.
“This directive could lead to intimidation of our public school educators, who are fighting for their voices to be heard,” she added.