Report: Teachers Conduct "Dry Run" for Strike

Contract negotiations between CPS and CTU continue to esculate

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    A fact-finding panel has convened and has 75 days to report recommendations for settlement terms of the contract, in compliance with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act passed last year. As a result, teachers will have to wait until June before they can strike.

    Members of the Chicago Teachers Union are preparing for a potential strike following a poll conducted on Thursday, according to a report.

    CTU officials polled its 25,000 members on questions pertaining to the school board, including whether Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard should resign, as part of a "dry run" for a potential strike vote, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

    Officials told Chicago Tribune the poll was to figure out logistics for a strike vote if ongoing negotiations with the district break down.

    The CTU-CPS labor contract expires on June 30, 2012, and the parties remain far apart in their bargaining positions, according to a CTU press release.

    A fact-finding panel has convened to report recommendations for settlement terms of the contract as part of the 75-day process before teachers can strike, in compliance with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act passed last year.

    Earlier this month, CTU President Karen Lewis and other union leaders met with Senate President John Cullerton and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan in Springfield, Illinois over concerns of potential strike. They provided an update on negotiations with the City of Chicago.

    In early April, CTU said teachers at 150 Chicago schools "overwhelmingly" voted to strike if contract negotiations failed.

    Each of the schools met the 75 percent approval needed if they would move forward with a strike, CTU president Karen Lewis said.

    Teachers continue to be at odds with CPS and Mayor Rahm Emanuel over the implementation of a longer school day this fall.

    In March, CPS said it would move forward with a new teacher evaluation program without support from the Chicago Teachers Union. The new system would count student performance as 25 percent of a teacher’s assessment, with the intention to raise that rate to 40 percent in five years.