CPS Announces New Contract Agreement, But Not With CTU

The new contract includes first-ever maternity leave

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    Chicago Public Schools has not came to an agreement with the Chicago Teacher's Union, but on Thursday did lock in a new contract deal with another union.

    CPS and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 announced a new three-year agreement with SEIU Local 73 members. The union represents 5,500 CPS service employees: janitors, child welfare attendants, school bus aides, security offers to name but a few.

    Negotiations between CPS and SEIU Local 73 began back in March.

    The new SEIU Local 73 contract includes first-ever maternity leave benefits, short-term disability, professional development, a wellness plan for members, and a two percent pay increase each year over the three-year contracted period, officials said in a release.

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    Mayor Rahm Emanuel admits the 90 percent vote teachers gave in authorizing a strike is a "huge number," but says common ground can be found if all parties work together.

    "Our members’ top concerns going into negotiations were to ensure that the Chicago Public School system provided Chicago’s children and young adults with a top notch public educational environment and job security," said SEIU Local 73 President Christine Boardman. "Our committee feels they have substantially achieved these goals in a new three-year contract."

    CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said parents and students will be ready for the start of the school year with the signing of the new contract.

    “Like with UNITE HERE, we were far apart when we first sat down to the table with SEIU Local 73, but we worked through the process and found that when you keep lines of communication open and continue negotiating, agreement is possible,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

    The contract represents the second major agreement with CPS over the past month. CPS and UNITE HERE Local 1 in early May announced a five-year agreement that included first-time-ever short-term disability and maternity leave for 3,200 lunchroom workers.