The 11-day-old Chicago teachers strike is over — with the union triumphant.
It’s tempting to exaggerate the breathtaking scope of the union’s victory because the contract is unprecedented. It deals with everything from political power over the school board to teacher bathrooms. And right down the line, the union position prevailed.
A sampling of what the union was able to extort from the city:
- A new joint class size council will be created to address overcrowding. The council will get weekly updated data and will have $35 million per year to address situations on a case-by-case basis.
- The contract will run for 5 years, giving the board time to implement some of the massive changes in staff.
- Pay raises: 3.0 percent for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years 3.5 percent for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school year.
- Freezes health insurance premiums through 2022.
- A net zero increase in the amount of Board-authorized charter schools over the contract’s lifespan.
- The Joint Teacher Evaluation Committee — made of five union members and five Board members — will provide annual recommendations to the chief talent officer and CTU president on how to improve teacher evaluations. Student growth scores will make up 30 percent of an evaluation’s summative rating.
There will be another several hundred union positions at schools, including librarians, social workers, and psychologists. And the board certainly gave into the woke culture when they agreed that “men and women teachers” on bathrooms was replaced with gender-neutral language. “The Board shall ensure that all schools are provided with washrooms and rest areas for all bargaining unit members that are accessible to all bargaining unit members during all workdays, private, clean and comfortable.”
How about some gold plated fixtures?
One thing the union didn’t get was control over the Chicago school board. For that, they would need a bill passed in the legislature — something that Lightfoot doesn’t support. And John Kass is breathing a sigh of relief.
But what CTU [Chicago Teachers Union] leadership has wanted from the beginning is control over the troubled school system it has spent the last few weeks stomping on.
Union leaders rejected that Lightfoot raise and kept pushing for more, demanding affordable housing and other expensive items.
A couple of days ago, Lightfoot looked exasperated and exhausted as CTU leadership kept insisting she sign on to an elected school board bill in the state legislature that she considers fundamentally flawed.
“Are we really keeping our kids out of class unless I agree to support the CTU’s full political agenda wholesale?” said the mayor.
Kass calls the prospect of these radicals in control of the board “insane.”
So the second teachers strike in 5 years is mercifully over. But the rest of you take note. Other teachers unions and public employee unions went to school in studying the successful methods of the Chicago teacher’s union. It’s a blueprint for fiscal disaster for any government unwilling to take a stand against radicalism.