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PB Days, Raises and Back Pay Information

by Jesse Sharkey, CTU Vice President  |  12/21/2012

Strike Makeup Days

As you know, January 3rd and 4th are scheduled as strike makeup days for members at Track R schools. We expect that many union members have travel/family plans. This e-mail is intended to summarize our union rights in regards to missing work on those days.

The Board has insufficient substitute teachers to cover the demand. As a result it is seeking to limit how many CTU members take Personal Business (PB) days in order to be able to sufficiently staff the schools. The Board has instructed principals to approve paid leave (PB days) for teachers, clinicians, and PSRPs on a priority basis—staff with the most pressing demands will have leaves approved first. For example, a member who needs to attend a wedding, visit a sick relative, or who has expensive, non-refundable travel plans will be approved before someone who does not.

Do I need approval to take a Personal Business day? No. However, be aware that the Board may not pay unapproved days and we would need to seek resolution to that issue through the grievance procedure. PB days are defined as “days for use during the Fiscal Year to attend to the employee’s personal business.” The Union’s position is that our members are NOT required to seek approval in order to take a PB day.

What if I’m sick on the 3rd or the 4th? Do I need a doctor’s note? If you have an emergency illness on the 3rd or 4th, Board policy states that you do NOT need to provide a note. Obviously, if you want to tell your principal, “I am going to be sick on the 3rd and 4th” the principal has the right to ask you to bring a note.

Should our members use the form “Request for approved absence during strike make-up days…”? Inform your principal of your plans in writing, but it is better NOT to use the form. The CTU does not believe that the paragraph which reads “I understand that if my request for an approved absence is granted for this period, I will be paid from my personal business day bank if days are available” is valid because it implies that the request might not be approved and therefor you would not be paid. The Board specifically agreed to remove restrictions on PB use in this contract.

Consider your Fellow Union Members. Educators are expected to practice the courtesy of informing their principal in advance. While union members have a right to take any PB day they elect, we also urge members to consider the needs of the school to provide a safe and secure learning environment on school days when a large number of educators may desire the day off. Please consult with and consider other educators in your building to provide flexibility and fairness to sisters and brothers who may have urgent personal business on such a day.

Paychecks

Many people are looking at their paychecks and wondering “Is this really 3%?” Yes, everyone will receive at least 3% more pay this year. However, each paycheck will not be 3% more than previous years and your retroactive checks will not be large. Here is an example to illustrate why our checks are not 3% larger:

Teacher X had a gross yearly pay of $60,900.00 in 2011-12.

No teacher actually had that exact amount in the salary schedule, the closest would be a teacher with a Master’s degree and five years in CPS. However, this is a mathematically convenient amount. Why? Because last year we worked 203 days in the school year.

$60,900.00 ÷ 203 = $300.00

So Teacher X grossed $300 per day last year. In each ten-day pay period Teacher X grossed $3,000.

This year, a 3% cost of living adjustment will apply to Teacher X’s annual salary, per the new contract. To get a 3% increase, multiply by 1.03.

$60,900.00 x 1.03 = $62,727.00

However, State law allowed the Board to unilaterally extend the school year and prevented us from striking over their choice. This year our members work a 208-day school year.

$62,727.00 ÷ 208 = $301.57 (actually about $301.572)

So this year Teacher X will gross about $301.57 per day. In each ten-day pay period Teacher X will gross $3,015.72. So that’s a difference of less than $16 per pay period.

$3,015.72 - $3,000.00 = $15.72

Due to the extended year our daily cost of living adjustment is diluted over the extra days. We are working five more days this year (or about 2.5% more days).

This is still a 3% cost of living adjustment. Since salary and expenses are always yearly, each member will still have 3% more money to spend in keeping up with the cost of living. However, it will not show as clearly when comparing the difference in paychecks.

The same concept holds true for PSRP pay. Unlike teachers, PSRPs got a 2% cost of living adjustment and a 2% bonus. So, they need to multiply by 1.04 instead of 1.03 to represent their 4% raise.

Of course, these calculations do not factor in the new step increases. However, the same principle applies. That step increase will also be divided into a larger number of days. You can find your step increase on this schedule. For each ten-day pay period, divide that number by 20.8 to see the step increase added to your gross pay.

For example, the largest annual step increase for a teacher working 208 days is $2,570.09.

2,570.09 ÷ 20.8 = $123.56

So, the largest biweekly step increase is less than $125.

Another factor is health insurance. In the new contract, we won a freeze in the percentage charge for health care. However, a fixed percentage times increased pay amounts to a slightly increased cost. This cost must be deducted from all pay as well, further impacting the raises. Union dues were also slightly increased, amounting to a deduction of $5.11 for PSRPs and $8.40 for teachers and clinicians in the retroactive paychecks.

This cognitive dissonance will not occur next year. Since the calendar will remain the same, the yearly salary increase will show the same percent increase per check.

Retroactive Paychecks

Retroactive paychecks should be calculated along the same lines as described above.

Take this year's daily gross pay. Subtract last year's daily gross pay. Multiply by the number of days worked.

If you are a Track E member, you will have worked 63 days through November 3. If you are a Track R member you will have worked 43 days through November 3.

Example

Let's continue our example with Teacher X. Using the above calculations, we already determined the old daily gross pay ($300.00) and the new daily gross pay ($301.57). You may want to scroll back up and look at the first few calculations again to refresh your memory.

301.57 - 300 = 1.57

So the difference in gross pay per day is $1.57. Teacher X works at a Track R school, so multiply by 43 days worked.

1.57 x 43 = 67.51

So Teacher X's gross pay on that retroactive paycheck will be $67.51.

Again, deductions are made for union dues, the health care multiplier, and deferred pay. So all those will affect that net retroactive pay check.

Chicago Teachers Union