CPS reaches reopening deal with 9,000 district staff represented by SEIU Local 73

The tentative agreement comes as the status of negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union are unclear.

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A bus driver shortage has left some CPS students without transportation to get to school.

The union representing bus aides and other CPS staff came to an agreement with CPS over school reopenings.

Sun-Times file

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Public Schools officials announced a deal Monday with 9,000 non-teaching staff members about the district’s plan to reopen school buildings.

The deal involves staff who are represented by SEIU Local 73, which includes lunchroom workers, special education classroom assistants, security guards, custodians and crossing guards — including “thousands of whom have reported to work in-person for the entirety of the pandemic,” Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson said in a joint statement. “Without the dedicated members of Local 73 as well as other union staff, we would be unable to serve families millions of free meals, ensure our schools are clean and safe, and support our students with special needs. We are grateful to have reached an agreement that honors their dedication to Chicago’s families.”

Among other things, the tentative agreement allows the special education classroom assistants to work remotely while in-person learning is suspended and continue that way if their assigned students have chosen not to return to the classroom. Also, if there’s a teachers strike, security guards, custodians and crossing guards can continue to report to work and receive pay, according to the terms of the agreement.

SEIU Local 73 also praised the deal in a statement on its website.

“We are pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with CPS regarding remote work and in-person learning for our members,” the union said.

The deal comes as in-person classes for up to 67,000 preschool through eighth grade students who have opted for in-person learning were delayed Monday when the mayor and Jackson said they were making progress with the CTU at the bargaining table.

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