With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

At last night's meeting. Support builds for CTU in contract talks

There was a packed house at Luther Memorial Church last night for the forum on the current teacher contract negotiations. Parents 4 Teachers called the meeting and invited members of the CTU's negotiating teach along with Board Pres. David Vitale and acting schools CEO Jesse Ruiz (Byrd-Bennett is still in hiding). Vitale & Ruiz were no-shows.

CTU's Jesse Sharkey started it off, saying the negotiations are going poorly. The board is stalling. While there's a very real revenue crisis and it's questionable if the board can even afford to open schools in the fall, CPS is "broke on purpose".

Packed house at Luther Memorial last night.
More Sharkey: CPS is hiding money in reserve funds. There's lots of wasteful spending, ie. toxic interest rate swaps and the $20 million no-bid SUPES contract now under investigation by the feds.
They won't tax the LaSalle St. "gamblers", but instead are relying on illegal retiree pension take-backs and casino gambling profits for needed revenue. 
"We're looking for 3% pay increase", says Sharkey. "They're offering 7% cut."

No room for serious negotiations here. So what kind of game is Rahm and the board playing?

Members of the negotiating team made it clear that they're putting much more than teacher pay on the table. Union demands include:

  • Limitations on yearly testing, including an end to testing pre-K and kindergarten kids. 
  • Libraries and school nurses in every school.
  • Social (restorative) justice coordinators to deal with discipline issues as an alternative to the school/prison pipeline.
  • Full access to early childhood education for all kids. 
  • More community schools. Stop charter expansion.
  • $15 minimum wage for lowest-paid school staffers.
  • Save our pensions

Every union demand was greeted with cheers from the crowd of teachers and parents.


  1. Sounds like Vitale & Ruiz are also "in hiding."
    You can run, but you can't hide! (Well, unless you're B3--AND you can get paid for it, too!)
    BTW, I think Senate candidate/CPS Board Member Andrea Zopp owes it to the public to show up & show her stuff. As per her past performance (& the same for everyone else on this annointed {no--not an error--they're more than appointed) board, I, for one, find her to be unworthy of serving on the CPS Board, let alone represent the people of ILL-Annoy.

  2. Hi Mike,

    I'm a current CPS teacher, and I was wondering if you could help deepen my understanding as to why nobody could make any charges stick to Solomon while he was at Niles West. Sometimes I think this is all a conspiracy to undermine and destroy CPS so that Rahm and Rauner can turn Chicago into a charter school laboratory a la New Orleans after Katrina, but I've been feeling especially cynical and desolate lately. Lastly, do you have any of the latest information on the BBB investigation, or could you direct me to a good place to find it? Thanks for all you do.



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