Tuesday, May 5, 2015

BOHICA! It never ends...

If citizens of Chicago thought the relationship between Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Teachers Union was contentious during their last contract negotiations, I have a feeling they ain't seen nothing yet.

Here's a quick reminder of what teachers gained during their last contract...
  • Working 45 minutes longer very day
  • Working 10 more school days every year
  • An evaluation system that is more complex than the reading of the Magna Carta
  • And of course a raise! A RAISE that amounts to about $1.00 more per day (and that's before taxes).  Many teachers bring home less money now than they did three years ago.

So, where do negotiations stand now?  The Board of Education said last week that they would not extend the Union's current teachers' contract for one more year because they can't afford the 3% raise that was part of that agreement.  Now, to make matters worse, they not only want to "not give teachers a raise" (which would amount to less that the cost of living adjustment) , they want them to take a 7% PAY CUT in the form of their pension pick-up.  

Teachers, police, and firefighters are always first on the chopping block.  Teachers, police, and firefighters who have faithfully put in their part of their pension from day one are being vilified as the bad guys because the "city that works" has worked so hard at NOT honoring its part of their pension responsibilities.  Every time Rahm and his ilk "find" money, they can't wait to waste it on other city services, or perks, or whatever.  They work extremely hard to make sure they are NOT funding the pensions.  No one can tell me that this is not a purposeful strategic plan that is being played out here.  We will have to keep our eyes on the Chicago Teacher's Union and see what unfolds in the coming months.

If I understand the math correctly, doesn't losing a 3% raise and having an extra 7% taken out of your paycheck really amount to a 10% pay cut???????

I wonder how many teachers kept their strike signs from 2012?

The Chicago Board of Education is asking teachers and other union members to take what amounts to a 7 percent pay cut in its upcoming contract by not honoring the pension pick-up, the Chicago Teacher's Union said in a five-page email that outlined their contract demands.

The pension pick-up is a payment the Board of Education has made since the early 1980s, which covers the majority of teacher pension costs. The teachers themselves pay a smaller portion. Ending that pick-up would mean the teachers have to pay the full freight of their pension contributions.

The CTU said in the release that it is "insulted by the BOE's demand."

Late last week, the board told the union it would not offer an optional fourth year of its existing contract that expires June 30, saying the district could not afford the $105 million in raises guaranteed in that deal.

Negotiations have been underway since the fall of 2014. The CTU says it wants to reduce class sizes and set an enforceable maximum, staff all public schools with full-time art, music and physical education teachers, unionize charter school teachers and reduce the amount of time students devote to taking standardized tests. The board has already challenged some of those items as beyond the scope of the contract.

Many of those issues were also on the table in September of 2012, when teachers went on strike for the first time since 1987. The pension issue, however, is new to this round of negotiations, and increases the tension between the board and the union.

The CTU says it has planned a press conference addressing the contract negotiations for Wednesday.

You can find Karen Lewis response by clicking here...

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