Monday, June 11, 2012

Reason #211: Authorization

Amidst extended negotiations regarding base pay and the length of school days, the Chicago Teacher's Union voted overwhelmingly today to authorize a strike. Negotiations are still ongoing, of course, and representatives of Chicago Public Schools were quick to point out that their final (or at least latest) offer is still forthcoming. The vote simply permits the union to call a strike if it deems one necessary, thereby giving it more leverage in negotiations.

After offering and then rescinding a four percent pay increase last year, Major Ravenstahl's administration is now pushing for a ten percent longer school day and a guaranteed pay raise in a teacher's first year of two percent--which already seems iffy from a mathematical standpoint.

The teacher's union, meanwhile, is seeking reduced class sizes, two-year contracts instead of CPS' five, a twenty-four percent raise the first year and a five percent raise the second year.

Strikes are always complicated, and I won't pretend to be an expert in the finer points of the Chicago Public School system, but that is indeed quite a gulf between the two sides' positions, and given the huge loss for organized labor in Wisconsin last week, I'm happy to err on the side of the union having a little extra bargaining power here. Maybe a twenty-four percent raise is more than they need, maybe not--but a two percent raise in exchange for ten percent more work certainly doesn't seem right. And at the very least, I'm in favor of anything that leads to longer school days. Let's just hope they don't end up striking first.

No comments:

Post a Comment