* Chuck Goudie asks a good question: Is the Chicago teachers strike legal?…
There is a new state law in place that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says bans teachers from striking for anything other than compensation. Emanuel says the two issues remaining on the table have nothing to do with that, raising the question: is this a legal strike?
Mayor Emanuel has repeatedly made the statement that the teachers union is conducting a strike of choice, and that teachers are striking over two items that are not subject to a job action under current Illinois law.
Emanuel says the law states teachers may strike only because of compensation, and according to the mayor, neither of the disputed contract items involve pay or benefits. […]
According to Mayor Emanuel, teacher evaluation and teacher staffing are the two issues.
Mayor Emanuel: “Neither one of these issues are allowed to be strikeable by law…yet these are the final two issues.” […]
An attorney for the Chicago Teachers Union says, although some items have been resolved Monday, there are many more than two open issues remaining, some involve compensation, and that Mayor Emanuel is wrong: teachers are permitted under the law to strike for certain non-pay issues, even including air-conditioned classrooms.
* From a CTU press release…
“Recognizing the Board’s fiscal woes, we are not far apart on compensation. However, we are apart on benefits. We want to maintain the existing health benefits.”
So, there is a financial component to this, and the union appears to be almost accepting the four-year 16 percent pay raise (following a 4 percent cut this past year). The Board has offered this for health insurance…
The Board is calling for a modification to the health care plan funding that will freeze all employee health care contributions for single and couple plans with a small increase in family contributions of no more than $20 a pay period in addition to a small increase in emergency room co-pays. 67 percent of all CTU members will not see a change to their healthcare.
* But this is also from the same CTU press release…
“While new Illinois law prohibits us from striking over the recall of laid-off teachers and compensation for a longer school year, we do not intend to sign an agreement until these matters are addressed.”
So, they can’t legally strike over those two issues, but they are anyway.
This goes back to something I wrote during the state education reform negotiations. Teachers went on strike a whole lot more back in the days when state law expressly prohibited strikes. Drastically limiting their collective bargaining rights will not stop them now.
It’s just that simple.
*** UPDATE *** Sun-Times…
As Chicago Public Schools teachers hit the picket lines for a second day, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said repeatedly Tuesday that what he sees as the two key issues for teachers are “not strikeable“ and that he would rather settle the strike at the bargaining table than the courtroom.
“My view is to work these issues out at the table. That’s what I want to do. That is where I want to achieve it,” Emanuel said Tuesday. […]
The teachers union, however, disagrees, saying that the teacher evaluation process is an issue they can legally strike over, and the city could not successfully go to court to stop the strike by getting an injunction.