October 12, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Chicago. IL – Minutes before their midnight deadline to go on strike, the Chicago Teachers Union announced they had reached a tentative contract agreement with the city school board Oct. 10.
“Clearly, we had some issues and there's some things we're going to still be working on,” CTU President Karen Lewis told a press conference.
“But what we ended up with is something that's good for kids, is good for clinicians, is good for paraprofessionals, for teachers, for the community.” The proposed four-year contract preserves the “pension pickup,” in which the city covers seven-ninths of the 9% of salary teachers contribute to their pensions, for all teachers hired before the end of this year. Teachers hired next year would get a 7% raise to offset having to make that contribution themselves. Lewis said the school board also made commitments to lower class sizes in kindergarten through second grade, and three sources told the Chicago Tribune that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has agreed to channel at least $85 million from “tax increment financing” districts to city schools. Teachers will also retain “steps and lanes,” pay increases for experience and education, and get cost-of-living increases in 2018 and 2019. The deal, retroactive to 2015, still needs to be ratified by the CTU’s House of Delegates and the rank-and-file membership. Read more