* 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.”