CTU sounds off over proposed pay cut

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CHICAGO -- Chicago teachers took the next step in their fight for a new contract by filing an unfair labor practices complaint against the Board of Education accusing the board of bargaining in bad faith.

The union met Wednesday night on the Near South Side to vote on a proposal from Chicago Public Schools which they rejected unanimously.

There’s a lot that has to happen before Chicago teachers would even be in a position to strike but many fear 2012 could happen again. Teachers were off the job for 7 days before a new three-year deal could be reached. That contract has almost run out and Chicago Public Schools will not be picking up the option to extend it for another year. That would have triggered an automatic 3-percent raise, $105 million the school board says it simply doesn’t have.

But teachers say it runs deeper and accuse the city of fomenting a financial crisis to roll back their pay. The union boss herself, Karen Lewis, goes even further and suggests talk of a 7-percent cut is payback by the mayor himself for teachers backing his political opponent, Chuy Garcia.

“I think Rahm Emanuel is a consummate politician and you have to have good manners at some point, right?” Lewis said. “We have not had a sit-down yet. I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure that there are a lot of things that we can talk about that will be perfectly ok and I’m actually looking forward to it.”

CPS released a statement Wednesday saying:

The financial crises facing Chicago Public Schools has arrived at our classroom doors and threatens to destroy our top priority -- ensuring our students and teachers have the resources they need to succeed in the classroom. While CPS has not reviewed the complaint and is unable to comment specifically on its content, we look forward to continuing our conversations on the next contract as well as joining teachers, principals and parents to work together to increase state funding for education and reform a broken system that forces Chicago residents to pay twice for teacher pensions.

Their next bargaining session’s scheduled for next Thursday.

The current teachers’ contract expires at the end of next month.



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