CTU Negotiates Foreclosure Relief for CPS families; ‘Reasonable Compromise’ on Teacher Raises Rejected
CHICAGO – During negotiations with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today offered to accept a lower cost-of-living salary increase and also urged the school board to support our members and students who face foreclosure by ending its relationship with five banks responsible for the largest number of home foreclosures in the last two years. CPS negotiators refused to consider the proposals.
Under the terms of its contract the CTU now has the right to terminate the current agreement—a measure that will be taken up at the union’s House of Delegates meeting on Tuesday.
CTU President Karen GJ Lewis said that the proposed cost of living salary increase is based on the local consumer price index. She explained that instead of demanding that the Board restore the contractual 4 percent cost of living increase promised to school employees but denied them in June, the union will accept the lower figure which will save the board $25 million. The denied raises will lead to $1.3 billion in lost revenue to the local economy.
“Even though the Board just gave huge raises to its top executives our teachers are prepared to do our share to help keep budget costs down while we continue efforts to improve schools and benefit the children we teach,” said Lewis. “We believe this is a reasonable compromise in this season of ‘shared sacrifice.’”
More than 40,000 homes are foreclosed in Cook County each year. Combined with the illegal lay-off of teachers these foreclosures contribute to housing insecurity for thousands of CPS employees and students. As part of its ongoing negotiations with CPS, the Union requested that the Board turn up the pressure on Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Deutsche Bank until these institutions agree to write down the mortgage principals and interest rates for all homeowners facing foreclosure within the school district to market value as a part of an affordable and sustainable loan modification program.
"The decline of safe and secure homes greatly impacts the overall well-being of the children, educators and their families in our public schools. Their interests are our interests," said Lewis. “We urge the school board to stop doing business with the “big five” banks whose policies adversely impact our schools and neighborhoods.”
CTU released details of the union’s six-point contract proposal following today’s negotiations between the six school unions and Chicago Board of Education representatives. Other points in the union proposal are:
· CPS establishes a mutually-agreed recall policy for all CTU-represented teachers and staff that were laid off on or after July 1, 2010 by which qualified teachers and staff with the necessary certifications are recalled to any vacant bargaining unit positions before new teachers and staff are hired.
· In addition to any other rights existing under the labor contract, all discipline imposed on CTU-represented teachers and staff without just cause, other than dismissal, removal and suspension pending removal, may be grieved and arbitrated under Article 3.
· CPS shall not do any business with the five banks responsible for the largest number of foreclosures within the City of Chicago until they agree to write down the mortgage principals and interest rates for all homeowners facing foreclosure within the city to market value as a part of an affordable and sustainable loan modification program to prevent foreclosures. The aforementioned banks are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Deutsche Bank.
· No reductions from the prior school year’s funding to any educational programs in which CTU members are employed shall be imposed unless equivalent reductions are imposed upon CPS Charter Schools.
· Effective July 1, 2011, all bargaining unit employees represented by the CTU shall receive a 2 percent salary or wage increase; and effective January 1, 2012, all bargaining unit employees shall receive an additional 2 percent salary or wage increase. [This is equivalent to a cost of living increase for School Year 2011-12]
“While the City gives away hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies to big developers and even more in profits for the big banks that wrecked our economy the Board seeks to strip us of our agreed upon raises and calls for longer work hours with no clear plan for compensation,” Lewis said. “Our proposal would go a long way to prevent budget actions that shortchange our students. They deserve a quality teacher in every classroom from day one and a curriculum that supports a better, smarter school day.”