CTU asks CPS board to resolve $25 million veteran teacher pay fight

The board wants to give the money in bonuses, but teachers want raises instead.

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Teachers strike outside Lane Tech High School last fall.

Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

Chicago Teachers Union leaders continued their fight over veteran teacher pay with Chicago Public Schools on Wednesday, urging the district’s board to reach an agreement on the issue stemming from last fall’s teachers strike.

Appearing in front of the seven-member board at its monthly meeting, CTU Financial Secretary Maria Moreno accused CPS of changing the terms of a $25 million agreement on extra pay for the district’s longest-serving and most experienced teachers.

The union has asked for that money to be handed out as base pay raises — and says CPS agreed to that framework — while the district wants to give one-time bonuses and says it never agreed to pay raises.

“As soon as CTU members voted to ratify the agreement, the district broke our deal and demanded that most of the $25 million be paid in one-time lump sum bonuses rather than added to veteran teachers’ base salaries,” Moreno told the board.

“I ask the board to work with the CTU to resolve this as soon as possible. Let’s not get bogged down so soon after the beak has barely dried on our new collective bargaining agreement.”

The money in question, if given in raises, would add to teachers’ base pay when they reach certain levels of experience after 15 years in the district. As it stands now, CPS teachers get automatic raises every year through their 14th. Those raises are separate from the 16% pay bumps the union won in contract negotiations.

Board members did not comment at the meeting about the dispute.

A CPS spokesman said there was no progress in veteran pay talks and added that “any suggestion that CPS agreed to additional salary steps is false and not supported by any written agreements between the parties or union leadership’s own public statements to their members prior to ratification.”

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