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CHICAGO — After a seven-day strike and nearly 17 months of negotiations, SEIU Local 73 members have voted in favor of a new five-year contract with CPS.

The union said they received substantial pay increases, significant improvements in working conditions and more resources for students.

The new contract is retroactive to July 1, 2018 and expires on June 30, 2023.

“The newly ratified contract is a start in creating a pathway out of poverty for many of the workers that Mayor Lightfoot called ‘chronically underpaid.’ For example, under the current contract, it would take 17 years for a new SECA to reach $40,000 per year. Under the new contract, beginning in 2023, SECAs can reach $40,000 in one to two years,” the union said.

For the first time, Special Education Classroom Assistants will have self-directed prep and planning time scheduled throughout the school year.

SEIU Local 73 said they stand in solidarity with CTU, whose members remain on strike. The CTU’s House of Delegates is presumably voting on CPS’ latest offer Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

The newly ratified contract includes the following specific benefits and changes for each job category:

Special Education Classroom Assistants (SECAs)

  • About a 40% wage increase for new SECAs hired for the current school year.
  • Up to 38% wage increase for SECAs with 20 plus years of experience.

Bus aides

  • 17-27% wage increases based on years of service.
  • 13 paid days off (sick time and personal days), nearly double the 7 they receive now.
  • Equitable and fair assignment of hours based on seniority and evaluations.

Security officers

  • 20-32% wage increases.
  • Contract defines an “emergency” and spells out when they can be pulled away from their duties for other work.


  • 18-27% wage increases now through the 2020-2021 school year with additional wage negotiations then.
  • Holding Sodexo and Aramark accountable: custodians can provide quick response to unsanitary conditions without going through private contractors.
    When CPS finally decides to have custodians report to school principals, members can bargain over the effects of that change.

SEIU Local 73 represents 7,500 Chicago Public Schools support staff including special education classroom assistants (SECAs), bus aides, custodians and security officers.