CPS Should Not Undermine Collective Bargaining
Statement of IFT President Daniel J. Montgomery
The Chicago Public Schools administration must stop trying to undermine the collective bargaining agreement between the district and the Chicago Teachers Union. Any issue intended to be implemented in every school should be bargained between the administration and the democratically elected representatives of the teachers. The provision in the contract that the administration is currently manipulating was not intended to be used in this manner.
Reports from the CTU and representatives for the principals paint a very disturbing picture. Accusations of union busting and use of tactics designed to divide teachers must not be taken lightly. Administrative pressure on principals that is then applied to teachers is one of the main reasons teachers formed unions.
Collective bargaining exists to allow teachers’ authorized representative and the administration to reach a compromise that everyone can agree to without fear of reprisal. This consensus is essential to the effective implementation of any major initiative in schools. CPS and CTU will start bargaining over a new contract for the next school year and any new initiatives should be bargained in those negotiations.
Recent public opinion polls showed strong support for collective bargaining and the basic rights it provides for teachers and working families. CPS and the Mayor should not allow Chicago to even remotely resemble the situation in Wisconsin.
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The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.