CTU rejects contract terms, moves toward possible strike

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Teachers Union moved closer Saturday to a possible strike.

The union rejected the proposed union contract terms from an neutral fact-finder, which was released on Saturday, and started a 30-day countdown to a strike. The fact-finder was tasked with finding common ground between the union and school district.

"The clock has started," said CTU President Karen Lewis. In a YouTube video, she added: "We cannot accept a situation where our standard of living is lower by the end of a multi-year contract than at the beginning."


The union rejection starts a 30-day period in which CTU must wait before striking. A strike cannot happen before May 16, which is one month before the end of the CPS school year.

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said Saturday that he recommends the district accept the terms outlined in the fact-finder's report, and wants to do everything possible to avoid a strike.


Claypool said the deal gives teachers "an average raise of 13.5 percent over the life of the contract, while, at the same time, recognizing that shared sacrifice requires them to make the full employee contribution to their own pensions."

Employee contributions, along with 9 percent CPS contributions, were previously paid by the district under the past contract, Claypool said.

Claypool said he would like union membership to vote on the contract terms.

CTU will hold a press conference on Monday, but posted a YouTube video of Lewis talking about the rejection of the contract terms.

WATCH: CTU President Karen Lewis' YouTube message

The report recommended that both sides reconsider a previous CPS contract offer that has already been unanimously rejected by the CTU bargaining team in January. The offer included "taking home less in earnings at the end of the proposed four-year contract than they earn today; and, educator take home pay would be less on June 30, 2019 than it was on July 1, 2014, when the last CPS raise occurred. The January 29 proposal also sought to freeze salary steps and lanes, which have been in effect for 50 consecutive years, and eliminate the 7 percent pension pickup, which has been in effect for 35 consecutive years," according to CTU.

"CPS has created this fiscal mess and refuses to go over hundreds of millions of dollars in existing revenue that is already out there. Our wacked [sic] out governor isn't helping. Hand-in-hand, both will wind up hurting our members and our students in the long-run. We have no choice to prepare ourselves for a possible strike," Lewis said.
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