CTU strike, Day 12: Negotiations stumble over prep time and cost of contract

After another tense day of contract negotiations, Chicago teachers won’t return to their classrooms on Tuesday.

SHARE CTU strike, Day 12: Negotiations stumble over prep time and cost of contract

CTU vice president, son in tow, speaks to reporters Monday outside Malcolm X College.

Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

President Donald Trump’s visit to Chicago didn’t slow down negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools, but by late Monday, no deal had been reached. CPS officials say negotiations are stuck on two issues: contract costs and teacher prep time.

In case you were busy following news about Trump, here’s what happened between CPS and CTU Monday.

11:06 p.m. CTU says it won’t leave until a deal is reached as big bargaining team, top CPS lawyer arrive to negotiations

A flurry of activity saw top officials from both the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools huddle behind closed doors late Monday night to try and hammer out a deal to end the teachers strike, but no agreement was announced as of 11 p.m. and after hours of negotiations.

“The CTU bargaining team remains at the table and does not plan on leaving until they’ve managed to get a tentative agreement with CPS,” a union press release said.

The union’s big bargaining team returned in an effort to make a deal. CPS brought its general counsel, Joe Moriarty, to the table late Monday, possibly in an effort to strike a deal. Moriarty was part of negotiations in 2012 and 2016.

“They brought in one of their most experienced labor relations people who’s also their head lawyer, and we expect an offer from them,” CTU president Jesse Sharkey said, adding that the CTU was “prepared to bring our House of Delegates if there’s something on the table that shows seriousness.”

Read Nader Issa’s and Mitch Dudek’s report from outside negotiations at Malcolm X College

7:19 p.m. CPS serves up grim outlook in 12th day of teachers strike

Chicago Public Schools officials provided an update Monday evening on the status of contract talks with striking teachers — and they did not paint a promising picture.

”Honestly, we have been negotiating all day and we still have many key issues on the table,” LaTanya McDade, CPS chief educational officer, said during a brief news conference outside Malcolm X College, where bargaining continued behind closed doors. 

”Primarily some of the big ones are on prep time and also the cost of the proposals ... we’re still far apart in those areas,” she said.

Chicago Teachers Union officials maintain that additional costs for proposals they’re seeking beyond what’s already been agreed to will add about $38 million a year — while CPS officials say the actual number is about $100 million a year.

And negotiations have broken down when it comes to teachers fighting for prep time in the morning.

”Prep time is one of the ones that we are far apart on,” McDade said, noting that adding prep time reduces instructional time.

Before heading back inside to rejoin negotiations, McDade said: “We will stay at the table however long it takes to get a deal done.”

Mitch Dudek

6:38 p.m. Striking CPS support workers voting on new contract: ‘A victory for working people in Chicago’

Striking school support staff members were voting Monday and Tuesday on a tentative agreement reached by SEIU Local 73 leaders — and potentially end the nearly two-week walk-out from Chicago Public Schools by its 7,500 members.

Just more than 50 percent of members, which include security guards, bus aides and special education classroom assistants, will have to approve the deal announced Sunday — but they won’t go back to work until striking teachers do, too.

On Monday afternoon, Local 73 Vice President Jeffrey Howard responded bluntly when asked if there’s any chance union members, some of the city’s lowest paid, could return to work while the Chicago Teachers Union contract was still being negotiated.

Mitch Dudek has all the details on SEIU’s five-year contract here.

5:36 p.m. U. of Chicago extends early applications deadline for CPS students

Chicago Public Schools seniors worried about upcoming deadlines for the University of Chicago can breathe easy. The Hyde Park school announced Monday it would extend the early admissions deadline for any student affected by the Chicago Teachers Union strike.

The new deadline for students applying for early action or early decision is Nov. 10, according to an email from the university. The original deadline was this Friday.

“Over the past several days, many local applicants have expressed concern about missing our November 1 deadlines,” the email said. “ ... We hope this extension helps ease some of the stress you may be experiencing.”

The extension is automatically being granted; students do not have to request permission to turn their applications in past Nov. 1, the U. of C. said.

The University of Pennsylvania and several other universities have also extended early admissions deadlines or made other accomadations for CPS students.

For more on CPS seniors facing college admission deadlines, check out this report from Matthew Hendrickson.

Alison Martin

4:34 p.m. CPS officially cancels Tuesday classes

Tuesday classes have been canceled due to the ongoing teachers strike, according to Chicago Public Schools. Students have now missed nine days of class since the strike began on Oct. 17.

CPS made the announcement Monday afternoon.

Alison Martin

3:16 p.m. CPS girls volleyball teams forced to forfeit state playoffs due to ongoing teachers strike

The Chicago Teachers Union strike has impacted another sport. Fifty-six Public League volleyball teams were forced to forfeit state playoff matches on Monday.

“The Illinois High School Association’s ruling is that if the students aren’t in school at the start of the playoff series all the teams have to forfeit,” Jones girls volleyball coach Casey Feeney said.

Regionals in all four classes begin Monday night. The forfeits have started showing up on the IHSA’s official state tournament scoreboard. Approximately 840 students are impacted.

Read Michael O’Brien’s full report on high school volleyball and the teachers strike’s impact on the sport.

2:27 p.m. Stacy Davis Gates meets with Black Caucus at City Hall

CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates has argued $38 million is all that separates the two sides. 

On Monday, Davis Gates showed up at City Hall to lobby aldermen during the first day of City Council budget hearings. 

She argued that, in addition to the $60 million pension reimbursement, Lightfoot is demanding that CPS reimburse the city for $33 million of the $80 million in school security costs assumed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel two years ago.

“Costs that were shifted from the city to the schools is in the way of a contract settlement. ... Cops were paid out of the city budget. That pension shift was paid out of the city budget. She [Lightfoot] has taken $33 million of that back. She has also taken over $60 million back for the pension cost shift. ... That’s worse than Rahm,” Davis Gates said. 

“The mayor has effectively put [nearly] $100 million in the CPS budget line that had previously been on the city budget line to try and balance the city budget, which is making these talks more difficult.”

Fran Spielman

Read more about how the budget could impact negotiations with the teachers union.

2:09 p.m. Here are the details from SEIU Local 73’s contract deal

According to a release from the mayor’s office:

Highlights from the terms of the tentative agreement between the Chicago Board of Education and SEIU Local 73 include a minimum 16% raise over five years for all employees, and additional, substantial pay increases for SECAs, bus aides and custodians. The agreement specifies no changes to the health insurance plan for five years, including no increases to co-pays, deductibles, plan choices or out-of-pocket costs, with only modest increases in employee contributions. In addition to these benefits, the tentative agreement includes multiple improvements to working conditions for SEIU members. For example, employees will be able to carry over up to 40 days of unused sick leave for use for future absences. SEIU Local 73 members represent essential school staff who are embedded in the fabric of school communities across the City of Chicago, said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. We are thrilled to come to an agreement that provides these essential school staff members with the robust compensation increases and benefits they deserve. The contract will go into effect once both the members of the Chicago Board of Education and SEIU Local 73 ratify the tentative agreement.

1:42 p.m. ‘Historic about-face buried in mayor’s budget overview’

At a time when union leaders claim another $38 million could end the teachers strike, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2020 budget requires the Chicago Public Schools to reimburse the city for $60 million in pension contributions previously covered by City Hall.

The historic about-face is buried in the mayor’s budget overview.

It states, “In 2020, an additional $60 million is expected from Chicago Public Schools to cover a portion of its share of the city’s annual contribution to the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund.”

For years, City Hall has covered the school system’s annual contribution to the largest of four city employee pension funds.

This year, Lightfoot needs the money to chip away at the city’s $838 million shortfall triggered, in part, by the city’s own rising pension payments.

— Fran Spielman

Read more on how the budget may impact negotiations with the teachers union.

10:17 a.m. Negotiations resume between CPS and CTU

Negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union resumed Monday morning.

CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates walked into negotiations with her son by her side asking parents to bear with teachers through the ongoing strike.

“This is where negotiations get tough because it is just a few [issues],” Davis Gates said. “We have an opportunity to provide our students with what they deserve.”

Davis Gates said $38 million is what is needed to end the weeks long strike. The money will meet their demands on class sizes for every school rather than just a third of schools in the district. it would also help support special education equity.

She dismisses CPS CEO Janice Jackson’ claims that their demands will cost an additional $100 million.

“I haven’t been able to keep up with [CPS’] math since the beginning of this, I haven’t been able to keep up with their rhetoric since the beginning of this,” said Davis Gates.

She said there has been a lot of movement in negotiations, but couldn’t guarantee if a resolution will happen today.

“We are doing this to make sure CPS gets what it needs, this is not extra, this is bare minimum,” she said. “I’ll be here as long as I need to.”

Manny Ramos

Read more about the latest in contract negotiations between CPS and the teachers union.

8:19 a.m. Lightfoot preparing for a ‘long fight,’ Sharkey says

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said it appears Mayor Lori Lightfoot is preparing for a “long fight.”

Talking to reporters outside Locke Elementary School on the Northwest Side Monday morning, Sharkey said the news out of the weekend negotiations was both good and bad.

“The good news is in terms of the really difficult sticking points, it’s not a very long list,” Sharkey said. “The bad news is, looking at what’s happening, I feel like the city, the mayor and the schools chiefs are digging in.”

Sharkey added, “If what (Lightfoot is) trying to do is test our resolve, that’s a mistake.”

As Sharkey spoke, commuters honked their horns in apparent support, while the occasional shout of “go back to work!” could be heard.

— Stefano Esposito

6:35 a.m. Where things stand Monday morning

CPS CEO Janice Jackson joined Lightfoot in a rare Sunday night news conference in which the mayor blasted the Chicago Teachers Union over the impasse in contract talks.

“We are enormously disappointed that CTU cannot simply take yes for an answer,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

The labor dispute that involved members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 has now prompted the cancellation of eight days of classes for CPS’ 300,000 students, surpassing the bitter 2012 strike to become the city’s longest schools walkout since 1987.

But SEIU Local 73 reached a tentative agreement Sunday night with the city even as CTU talks apparently slowed.

Jackson claimed that CTU leadership’s remaining demands would require another $100 million in funding on top of the city’s current $500 million offer, ”which the district can simply not afford.”

Jake Wittich and Tom Schuba

Our goal at the Sun-Times is to empower you during big news events like the teachers strike. Support our coverage further by signing up for a digital subscription here.

The Latest
Years before the Sept. 11 attacks and the anthrax mailing, the “Unabomber’s” deadly homemade bombs changed the way Americans mailed packages and boarded airplanes, even virtually shutting down air travel on the West Coast in July 1995.
Several streets in Grant Park are beginning their transformation into a high-speed race track as the city prepares for the NASCAR race and related events the first weekend in July.
We also asked for your thoughts on the PGA Tour’s controversial partnership agreement with Saudi-backed rival LIV Golf.
Don’t you love it when baseball crosses with real or pretend life? Here is a quiz that meets at that juncture.
While the old regime did its best to control the narrative of why sending Butler to Minnesota for a package that ended up being Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn was necessary, it’s now easy to see what really happened.