The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates voted Tuesday afternoon to suspend the strike while refraining from ratifying the current contract yet. According to reports, the contract, which comes with an annual price of $74M, will be ratified in the coming weeks.
The strike lasted seven days, during which teachers joined forces with far-left radicals to pressure Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city to accept their demands. Among those, teachers had been requesting a 30% pay raise and the removal of merit pay.
The meeting began at 3pm central, with conflicting rumors trickling out to reporters throughout the next two hours. If teachers ratify the contract as it stands, they will have succeeded not only in striking down merit pay, but also in the removal of student surveys as a part of teacher evaluations along with the outlawing of disciplinary suspensions.
A document prepared by the Chicago Teachers Union describes, from their point-of-view, what the current contract entails. Some highlights:
- Suspensions without pay are eliminated
- The board must promote racial diversity in hiring
- Regarding the rehiring of laid-off teachers, now 50% of new hires must come from the laid-off pool.
- The student survey is removed from teacher evaluations (except in special circumstance)
- Merit pay rejected
- 17.6 [Correction, updated from 16] percent average pay raise over four years (Year one base salary raise of 3%, 2% per year for the next two; if contract extends into year 4, a 3% raise; all this in additional to “step and lane” increases)
According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the elimination of merit pay comes with another hit to the Chicago taxpayers:
Chicago public schools expect to drain their cash reserves in the upcoming year and are likely facing another shortfall of as large as $1 billion the year after that. It is doubtful that the district can afford across-the-board pay raises.
Additionally, the contract was reduced from a five-year agreement to three years. The CTU notes in its document that this places the next contract negotiation “right in the midst of the next Mayoral election campaign.”