Another batch of unionized teachers at privately run schools has threatened to go on strike, as the Chicago Teachers Union tries to put pressure on managers of five campuses amid ongoing contract negotiations.
CTU-affiliated staff voted to authorize strikes at at the Chicago High School for the Arts, a contract school; two schools operated by the nonprofit Instituto del Progreso Latino; as well as the Latino Youth High School and the Youth Connection Leadership Academy.
No strike dates have been set, union officials said. If walkouts took place at all of the campuses, they would halt classes for about 1,700 total students.
Compensation, benefits and staffing are primary concerns as the union tries to standardize working conditions at the city’s independently operated public schools to align more closely with those at traditional Chicago Public Schools.
“They are fighting for equal pay and equal work, the same that our brothers and sisters receive in the Chicago Public Schools,” CTU financial secretary Maria Moreno said of educators who demonstrated outside of Instituto’s headquarters on Wednesday. “And they are fighting for the resources and personnel that our classrooms need, for which they have suffered so many cutbacks in the last years.”
The CTU merged with a division of unionized charter educators last year.
In December, hundreds of Acero network educators launched the nation’s first charter school strike and halted four days of classes before winning a tentative agreement that promised better pay and smaller class sizes.
Teachers at four Chicago International Charter School campuses launched the city’s second work stoppage in February. That two-week demonstration landed a four-year contract for some 200 unionized educators with pay raises, class-size limits, one week of paid parental leave and shorter work schedules. CICS also agreed to pay for a 7 percent chunk of teachers’ required pension contributions.
“We still hope to avoid a strike and the consequences it would cause for our staff, students and families — adding extra days to the end of the year, changing our finals schedule and graduation date, and the general disruption, unrest and divide that a strike could bring,” ChiArts executive Jose Ochoa said. “We believe much can be accomplished and resolved through additional dialogue and negotiations.”
ChiArts is a “contract” school, a publicly funded and independently operated program with more flexibility than regular charter schools.
Charter teachers work under contracts negotiated with each charter operator. They can bargain over issues that state law excludes from negotiations with teachers at traditional schools in Chicago. They also have broader flexibility to call strikes.
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April 10, 2019 at 08:03PM