CPS Contract Negotiations Unpredictable

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Several factors make it tougher for Chicago teachers to strike.

As Chicago Public Schools and the teachers union sit down to negotiate an expiring contract, a new mayor, new union leadership and new state legislation make it tougher for teachers to strike.

With three wild cards in play, the negotiations could be rocky.

"The ability to use the threat of a strike as a negotiating leverage has changed considerably," said Robin Steans, executive director of Advance Illinois, an education advocacy group. "You've got new and different leadership at the (Chicago Teachers Union), a mayor with a very different approach to the issue and different rules to the game with the new legislation. How that will all play out is extremely difficult to predict."

Chicago teachers haven't gone on strike since 1987, but that was largely because former Mayor Richard Daley was willing to give teachers substantial raises to avoid walkouts.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel is no Daley. And CPS is facing a growing budget shortfall.


In fact, a $712 million budget deficit led the Board of Education to discard the planned across-the-board 4 percent raises for teachers as its first official act over the summer.



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