HITTING LEFT #20

Friday, January 29, 2016

After more than a year of stalling, finally a serious contract offer to the CTU

A SmallTalk Salute goes out to Karen Lewis and the CTU for forcing Rahm/Claypool's hand and finally getting a serious contract offer. This comes after a year of CPS stalling and forcing teachers to work without a contract.

Of course, the offer still has to be voted on by the union's Big Bargaining Team, the House of Delegates, and ultimately ratified by the membership itself if a strike is to be avoided. This is what union democracy looks like.

The details of the offer aren't being made public. But Lewis says that the "basic framework calls for economic concessions in exchange for enforceable protections of education quality and job security." She says those losses could include the end of the city's practice of picking up the bulk of teachers' required contributions to their pensions. But she says that the union would not bend on another key issue, incremental pay increases known as "step and lane" bumps that are doled out based on seniority and experience.

If accepted, the contract agreement would be a big blow to Gov. Rauner, who's been holding the state's education budget hostage and even threatening a state takeover of CPS, in an attempt to pressure Democrats into busting the CTU and the state's public employee unions.

An agreement and lessening the threat of a teachers strike may also take some political heat off the mayor, especially with the IL Democratic primary coming up in March. A strike would surely be another giant nail in his political coffin.

The next test will be whether the unions, battered social service agencies, and community organizations can keep the pressure on Sen. Pres. Cullerton and House Speaker Madigan to keep them from selling out to Rauner's demands. Cullerton is already showing his willingness to coalesce with Rauner on another pension-theft bill, even after the last one was declared unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court.

9 comments:

  1. Why is it good to take political heat off Rahm Emanuel?

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  2. Good? Did I say it was good? Wait, let me go back and check. Nope, didn't say it was good.

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    1. Well, you praise the CTU leadership for making concessions. It involves costly concessions on teachers funding pensions. This is to avoid a strike, which intentionally or not, takes the heat off of Emanuel...and the Democratic Party in a Presidential election year. The financial crisis is a myth designed by the financial community to weaken unions. Wouldn't want Democratic politicians to be put into a position of showing whether they defend teachers striking in defense of public education would we?

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  3. Did I praise the CTU leadership for "making concessions"? Wait, let me go back and check. Nope, didn't do that. I did praise the CTU for forcing Rahm/Claypool to finally stop stalling and make a serious offer. As for making concessions, I will leave that to the negotiating team and CTU members to decide what, if any, concessions need to be made or whether to strike or not. I would advise you to do the same. Have you even read the contract offer? I doubt it.

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    1. Chicago Tribune January 29 http://goo.gl/2XEwAV

      "In return for the job security and pay increases, teachers would agree to pay more for health care and contribute more each year toward their pensions, source said.

      The pension pickup had been a point of contention for many months. Under the present offer, the city's long-standing practice of picking up the bulk of teachers' required pension contributions would be phased out, sources said. But new hires would have to pick up their entire share of pension costs right away.

      CPS has for many years picked up 7 percentage points of the 9 percent pension contribution required of teachers and many staff members. Last year, the district ended the practice for its nonunion workers, and under the current offer, the practice would be phased out for teachers.

      After he took over the helm of CPS last year, CEO Forrest Claypool made it clear he planned to seek the elimination of the pension pickup in contract talks. Lewis at one point described eliminating those payments as "strike-worthy."

      But last week, Lewis voiced optimism about the progress of contract talks and acknowledged her members could "lose certain things," including the pension pickup. However, Lewis also said the union would not bend on the "step and lane" bumps, which she described as "part and parcel of the way we do business," and a "bedrock of our professionalism."

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  4. Thanks Phila.ken. But I've already read the Trib.

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  5. Who the hell is Phila.Ken and why do we give a shit what he or the Chicago Tribune thinks about our contract?

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  6. First, teachers need to see the proposal. Those pesky details have actually not been released yet. Second, it is interesting that the police and fire (male-dominated professions) have gotten nice raises lately as well as pension payments while teachers (female-dominated profession) gets little in pension payments to the CTPF and could be facing cuts in teacher salaries. I look forward to more facts and comments on this last issue since it is often brought up at retired teacher gatherings.

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  7. Lots of great comments by Chicago teachers on FB. Here's a good one. https://www.facebook.com/phillip.cantor/posts/10208586666246816?fref=nf&pnref=story

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