Beginning of the School Year 2015
What’s different this fall?
We have been in negotiations since last winter but are starting the school year without a contract. We had been making progress towards a one year agreement when CEO Forrest Claypool came on board and abruptly changed the course of negotiations, pulling the Board’s earlier offer. Negotiations continued and we entered the mediation process towards a new contract.
How does this affect you right now?
You will resume work at the same Lane/Step you left in June. CPS has refused to grant Lane/ Step increases. We disagree with their decision. They refused to pay them in September 2012 as well. We do suggest that if you have completed a new degree or the credits for a lane change, you should submit the required documentation now. Of course, as in all dealings with the Board, retain copies for your own records. Submitting these now will protect your timeline. Last time, when we returned from our strike, all raises were paid retroactively. This is what we expect will happen again. On a more positive note, CPS has announced that they will honor their commitment to reimburse us for $250 in instruction supply money. General provisions of the contract such as sick and personal business days, preparation periods, duty-free lunch, etc. should remain in place as they have in the past.
What’s the same?
We need to make sure we have strong Union committees in place in every school. A PPC that listens to staff and stands up for decent working conditions and respectful treatment is essential. A well-organized PPLC that deals with questions of curriculum, instructional planning, professional development, testing etc. is our voice as educators on behalf of what our students need to learn and what we need to make us stronger teachers.
Since we are in the midst of a contract fight, we definitely need an active CAT (Contract Action Team). This is the group that will make sure everyone is a Union member, keep everyone upto- date on developments, organize activities to strengthen and demonstrate our Union muscle and, if needed, organize picketing and strike duties. The HOD packet includes a planning sheet for CATs, a phone tree, flyers about the Bank of America boycott, and other key materials to help your team get geared up for the fight.
We need to wear Union RED on Fridays!
It may seem like a small thing but, it showcases our unity and makes it clear that we are a team. In addition to CTU RED, you are free to wear Union buttons at any time. If administration tells you that you can’t wear a button, t-shirt or jeans, it’s not true! There is no dress code at CPS as long as your attire is appropriate. Our Union is only as strong as its weakest link. That means that we all need to play a part. It’s obvious that public education is under attack. We know how important it is and each of us has a role to play in defending our schools, our jobs, and our students’ education. Let’s re-double our efforts to build a strong CTU in each and every school. It’s the only way we can win. The enemies of education are powerful and united; we must be even more so! If you have questions or need assistance, call the Union and ask for your field rep. A list by school with contact information is available under the member tab at ctunet.com/rep.