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Talks break down between teachers union and CPS over pay raise

Talks between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education over a four percent pay raise hit a dead end Monday, forcing teachers to make some tough decisions in the days ahead, CTU officials said.

The Board’s insistence it cannot afford a cost-of-living pay hike “of any amount between 0 and 4 percent” means the union’s House of Delegates will meet Tuesday to discuss whether to re-open the existing contract or to start negotiating a successor contract to the one that ends June 30, said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey.

Either way, the stalled talks virtually guarantee that Chicago teachers will start the school year without a cost of living raise for the first time since 1994.

Reopening the current contract could open the door to a strike but also allow Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new school team to impose a longer school day and year, Sharkey said.

Starting negotiations on a successor contract would foreclose any immediate changes to the school day or year by keeping the current contract in place, Sharkey said.

Board officials have emphasized that even without the promised 4 percent pay hikes, 75 percent of teachers will receive a raise ranging from one to five percent for other reasons — either enhanced credentials or increased seniority.

“CTU failed to provide us with any alternatives to pay for the four percent salary increase rescinded by the board due to these very difficult fiscal times,” said Board of Education spokeswoman Becky Carroll. “Per the collective bargaining agreement, the decision to call an end to these talks lies solely in their hands.”

Chicago Teachers Union