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IFT wins major UNO contract

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014

* Interesting stuff from Greg Hinz

On a day when strong charter-school advocate Bruce Rauner is expected to win the GOP nomination for governor, the movement suffered what many would consider an off-setting defeat to its biggest foe: organized labor.

In an ironic touch to this Election Day, the Illinois Federation of Teachers announced that staffers at the United Neighborhood Organization charter network, the biggest in the city, have overwhelmingly ratified their first, union-negotiated contract.

The vote, described by the federation as “nearly unanimous,” will cover more than 500 teachers and staff at 16 UNO schools and comes about a year after 90 percent of those employees voted to affiliate.

Twenty-nine charter schools, nearly a quarter of the city’s total, now have voted to unionize with the federation, and organizing efforts are underway at some others, according to the union.

* From Catalyst Chicago

Union organizers say the contract, approved in a 445-to-16 vote, sets a “gold standard” for future charter school labor agreements across the country. It includes:

    * A salary schedule based on years of experience and educational attainment that will raise some employees’ salaries by as much as $10,000. Pay increases will be retroactive to the beginning of this school year.

    * Elimination of year-end bonuses based on evaluations that employees say used inconsistent metrics and fueled resentment among colleagues.

    * A “just cause” provision for terminations and a grievance procedure.

    * Paid and unpaid release time for bargaining unit members to do union-related work.

    * A longer summer break for teachers. Previously, teachers and staff had four weeks of summer vacation; now they will have five weeks under the new contract. However, the total number of instructional days remain unchanged.

“This contract will give a lot of people hope that [the charter network] is a place they can stay at for more than a year or two and grow as teachers and professionals without thinking their jobs are going to be on the line at the end of the year,” said Mallory Bruno, a special education teacher at UNO’s Octavio Paz Elementary School. “The salary schedule is so appealing now, I look forward to staying here for years to come.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - MrJM - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    Congratulations to the teachers and staff at the UNO schools.

    – MrJM

  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    Interesting. I wonder it that takes the air out of the tires of the Rahm/Rauner charter push.

    Of course, Rauner moved heaven and earth to send his kid to a school with teachers represented by the CTU, so maybe unions aren’t all bad.

  3. - Walker - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    Good for IFT.

    They’re the best of the teacher unions/associations, IMHO. The best calm, professional, problem-solving negotiators.

  4. - Norseman - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    Evidently someone forgot to tell them how evil unions are.

  5. - Dave Victor - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    And that’s the end of charter schools.

  6. - Whale watcher - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    A big FELICIATCIONES TO IFT AND LOS MAESTROS Who WORK FOR UNO!! Good day for the working class so far…go GUZZ.

  7. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:38 pm:

    Congratulations to these teachers for protecting their rights as workers against corporatist education that is bad for students and bad for teachers.

  8. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:44 pm:

    Congratulations to the teachers for voting to be in a union.

    This is why I’m so glad to live in Illinois and not in Tennessee, where billionaires, their front groups and politicians wage wars against unionization and collective bargaining. Wait, what am I talking about? We have Mr. Rauner here who has embarked on this mission.

    Union membership is so much more than rhetoric. It’s about having more money to fix broken things that keep coming up, like cars and houses. It’s about less debt and more disposable income. It’s about less worry over having enough money to live a middle class lifestyle. It’s about being able to enjoy life a little bit more, maybe take out the family for dinner more, or go on a vacation.

    Good for them.

    Boy, I see my share of bad news for unions. It’s good to get this kind of news, once in a while.

  9. - ZC - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    There is absolutely no necessary conflict between the concept of teacher unions, and the concept of charter schools.

    The New York Times ran an interesting op-ed on this subject last Sunday, talking about the Eagle Academy schools in NY, which look very much like the “charter school success story” but which use unionized instructors:

  10. - Jim'e' - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:57 pm:

    If the report is accurate, I’m curious as to why the “lane” payment was included in the contract. It seems to be a standard for teacher contracts. I value higher education and post graduate degrees, but should simply having additional hours automatically result in higher paty? Or maybe they aren’t as bad as steps based simply on lengevity. It just seems so old “school” to me.

  11. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 5:00 pm:

    The Tribune editorial board is gonna have an apoplectic fit’

    You can’t hire and keep quality teachers without certain protections provided by a collective bargaining agreement. This is a plus for charter schools, whether Emanuel, Rauner or Bruce Dold will admit it.

  12. - Filmmaker Professor - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 5:07 pm:

    Great news. The ultimate purpose of charters has always been to destroy the teacher’s unions.

  13. - DuPage - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 5:30 pm:

    Do the charter teachers get health insurance and TRS?

  14. - olddog - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 5:32 pm:

    A big step in the right direction. Now if we can just get the charter schools’ snouts out of the public trough, we’ll be getting somewhere.

  15. - Corporate Thug - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 5:59 pm:

    Yup, trib won’t like this! Congrats to the teachers. Hope this continues.

  16. - Reader - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 7:41 pm:

    We’ll, if the student performance doesn’t improve at these schools, then we know who to blame. Hope it works out for the kids. Their futures depend on it!

  17. - Courser - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 8:14 pm:

    Congratulations to the teachers at UNO and the IFT. The wheel is coming around and people are finally starting to see the light. Unions are this country’s last and best defense against the billionaires who are buying our government outright.

  18. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 9:49 pm:

    –We’ll, if the student performance doesn’t improve at these schools,–

    Ugh, how will we find that out, more expensive standardized testing? Teach to the tests?

    As has been pointed out by others, Payton Prep does great with union teachers. So does New Trier. What’s Bruce’s beef?

  19. - olddog - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 10:14 pm:

    === if the student performance doesn’t improve at these schools, then we know who to blame. ===

    Don’t you think your teacher-bashing would be more convincing if you had some factual evidence?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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