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What's Next For Chicago Teachers Union After Strike Authorization Vote?

By aaroncynic in News on Jun 14, 2012 7:20PM

2012_6_11_CTU.jpg On Monday, the Chicago Teacher’s Union voted to authorize a strike with nearly 90 percent of union members casting votes: 98 percent of them in favor of a strike authorization. This however, does not mean that a strike is just around the corner, despite the increasingly volatile war of words between CPS and the CTU.

According to Progress Illinois, the authorization vote is mainly another tactical step at this point in order to come to a labor agreement with CPS. Robert Bruno, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Labor and Employment Relations told PI “The current bargaining relationship between CPS and CTU appears very strained, but contracts have been settled and relationships repaired between even more acrimonious parties.”

The Sun-Times reports Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still hopeful that a settlement could be reached. He acknowledged on Tuesday that the vote is “huge,” and said “let’s work together, find common ground, find partnership, reminding ourselves (of the need to) work together to better serve the taxpayers and our main constituents.”

At present, the CTU wants a 29 percent salary increase over a period of two years. If the average salary of a CTU teacher is $69,000 as Crain’s reported, that would be an increase to just over $89,000. So far, CPS has come to the table offering a 2 percent salary increase, which would mean just under $2,000 based on that $69,000 figure. In addition, the CTU is calling for a broader curriculum including arts and music, and libraries and air conditioning in every school.

A new state law requires an independent fact finder file a report by mid-July. Both sides will get 15 days to review the report and decide whether or not to accept its recommendations. If CTU rejects it, then that will open the door further towards a strike.