CTU to CPS: No thanks to offer to teachers to work 29% more for 2 % more in pay
In response to Chicago Public Schools CEO J.C. Brizard’s televised offer to Chicago Teachers Union (which was later amended and emailed) to have teachers and other CPS employees increase their work hours by 29 percent for a mere 2 percent pay increase, CTU President Karen GJ Lewis declined the proposal on behalf of her members.
“Yes, we fully support a better, smarter school day for our children but teachers are now being asked to work 29 percent longer for only a 2 percent pay increase,” said Lewis. “To that we say thanks but no thanks. For a teacher earning $57,000 a year the increase would mean a mere $3.41 an hour, less than minimum wage. Teachers on average already work 21 hours more than they are paid for; we grade papers, create lesson plans, confer with parents and counsel our students. There will be little time for us to do any of that.
“Rather than negotiating through the press and setting up political committees, CPS needs to sit down with teachers and paraprofessionals who are in our schools every day and come up with a better plan. Other school districts have found ways to lengthen the school days by good planning, and we welcome doing that as an interim step while we negotiate,” she said.
The CEO’s proposal further fails to explain how the Board will pay for a better school day that would provide the critical resources teachers and CPS employees need to enhance the quality of education in our schools. The Union was not told how the district will fund much-needed art, music, civics, world languages, recess and physical education classes required to make a school day of any length more effective.
President Lewis also urged Union members at three elementary schools, where principals are reportedly attempting to implement extended school hours this year, not to sign waivers. “Do not sign any contract waivers that will change the length of your school day,” she said. “If you give away your rights now this will guarantee you have none later,” she said.