Feb 15, 2016
The Chicago Public Schools and the top leadership of the teachers’ union presented an offer to the unions’ “big bargaining team” that would have included more than 100 million dollars in cuts per year. Some of the union’s leaders indicated they were ready to accept the offer. But many rank-and-file teachers were “seriously pissed off” that this was even presented as a “serious offer.” And the big bargaining team, after hearing from many teachers in their own schools, rejected the proposal.
In retaliation, CPS announced 80 million dollars in cuts to schools, and said it would stop the “pension pickup” in 30 days, which would be a 7% pay cut. Outright extortion! If you don’t accept the first offer, CPS will impose even worse!
But it’s clear that, at least so far, many teachers will not be suckered by such a crude threat. Several thousand school workers, students, and supporters marched downtown at the Bank of America in response to the cuts. And when sixteen teachers went inside to protest all the money the bank is taking from CPS, they were arrested.
Accepting cuts will not help the Chicago schools. That money will only go where public money has already been going: to banks and developers. The teachers are right to resist!