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Chicago Teachers Union: Lack of Leadership Caused Contract Gridlock

empty-classroomAfter nearly a year of negotiations, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has yet to reach a contract agreement with the city. Last week, the organization cited the governor, mayor and Chicago Public Schools as the cause of the gridlock concerning state education funding.

In May, the mayor refused city tax increases, which were suggested by the union as a means to fund the public school system. The CTU has once again asked the city to consider numerous local tax hikes in efforts to push the General Assembly into approving an education funding package. The union plans to rally on June 22 to raise awareness for their tax hike proposal.

The CTU has expressed concern over the failure of city leadership to pass education funding, saying the state government isn’t only to blame. Union officials say the state as well as the city needs to make efforts to save the struggling public school system.

Chicago Public Schools representatives have announced that the district’s schools won’t open in the fall if an education budget is not approved. The district has said that without state intervention, significant school budget cuts will be made for the upcoming school year.

Contract negotiations have moved slowly due to an unclear state education budget. The CTU has suggested that in the interest of reaching an agreement, teachers would consider a contract that does not include annual pay increases. The union says they still wish to gain incremental pay increases for teachers, given based on experience and education.

The CTU also reaffirmed their strike threat, saying if the district stops paying the lion’s share of teacher pension contribution, a fall strike is likely.

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