UNO Charter Schools, teachers reach tentative deal; avert strike

CHICAGO (WLS) -- UNO Charter Schools students will have class Wednesday after teachers reached a tentative agreement with the network to avoid a strike.

The teachers said they were tired but very excited to be able to say there will be school Wednesday. The United Educators of UNO held a news conference around 4 a.m. to explain how negotiations progressed overnight.

They were ready to walk out at midnight, if there was no deal. The charter school teachers said their walk out would have been the nation's first for privately-operated charter schools. It would have affected about 8,000 students at 15 schools throughout Chicago, along with more than 500 teachers.

Here are some parts of the new two-year deal.

"We were able to get a deal on our pension pickup similar to what the (Chicago Teachers Union) just did. Our current employees are going to get 7 percent and incoming employees will get 7 percent extra on their paycheck to make up for the UCSN not paying the pension pickup. High school teachers are going to get equal pay for an equal day. They are going to go down to an 8-hour workday, like every worker in the United States should have," said Erica Stewart, who teaches 5th grade.

UNO Charter Schools issued a statement that said schools will be open Wednesday and teams on both sides worked very hard to reach an agreement.

They also plan to continue talks with Chicago Public Schools to try to find more money and determine whether a portion of the Tax-increment financing (TIF) funds given to CPS will be shared with all public schools, including charters.

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