Several hundred teacher representatives packed a Chicago Teachers Union meeting Tuesday night, but no one put forward the question about whether to terminate the union’s current contract with Chicago Public Schools and therefore no vote was taken.
The CTU and CPS are in the midst of a dispute over whether the district should pay contractually-promised raises to teachers. When the Board of Education voted in June that the district was too broke to pay the unionized worker’s raises, CTU and seven unions asked to negotiate over the issue.
Monday night those negotiations can to a standstill. CTU officials said they offered to take a 2 percent raise, instead of the promised 4 percent raises, as long as CPS agreed to some other measures. According to the CTU, CPS negotiations said they were unwilling to pay anything.
At the Tuesday evening meeting, CTU officials had said that teacher representatives could vote to terminate the current contract–a move that could lead to a strike, as well as open the teachers up to a host of demands by the new CPS administration.
A high school English teacher who asked that his name not be used said the meeting did not include the drama of a vote to terminate the contract. Instead, it was mainly “calming the waters” and informing delegates about the negotiations process and the new requirements of Senate Bill 7, a new law that makes it more difficult for teachers to strike.
“There was no decision made, really,” he said. “It turned out to be more of an informative meeting.”
Making a decision has been put off at least until the next House of Delegates meeting, which will occur in early September. Before that happens, delegates have been tasked with talking to teachers at their school about what they want out of the negotiations.
Union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said that the lack of a vote should not signal that teachers are satisfied. Many of them are angry, she said.
“The teachers expressed their displeasure and many of them voiced a lot of concerns about being denied raises,” Gadlin said. “They can’t understand why CPS is being so hard on them.”