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Chicago Teachers Union Cancels Strike

October 17, 2016

School Choice Weekly #154

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) called off a strike scheduled for October 11 after reaching a last-minute deal with the district, though no one seems to know what the agreement will cost taxpayers. The Chicago Tribune reported:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Teachers Union both declared victory after reaching a tentative contract settlement that averted a strike.

What wasn’t immediately clear, however, was the financial cost of the deal that was reached Monday moments before a midnight strike deadline.

To finance the deal for this year alone, Emanuel tapped nearly $90 million in tax increment financing district surplus, even though he had for months dismissed the idea of using TIF money to shore up the school district’s shaky finances.

On Tuesday, though, he called using those funds “the right thing to do.”

The “right thing to do” for whom--students, parents, taxpayers? No, for the members of the teachers union, of course, as the Tribune pointed out:

The union got many of the things it wanted, including the continuation of the district paying the bulk of pension contributions for current teachers. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey praised the pay raises and job guarantees teachers would see under the tentative agreement.

“I think that we achieved really most of our bargaining objectives,” Sharkey said Tuesday. “And the things which we didn’t achieve largely have to do with not getting some of the things that we aspired to.”

CTU President Karen Lewis said the deal is “good for kids, is good for clinicians, is good for paraprofessionals, for teachers, for the community.” Lewis didn’t elaborate on how repeatedly keeping kids out of the classrooms and forcing already overburdened taxpayers to foot the bill for their lofty salary and benefits demands is good for kids or the community. Perhaps teachers unions elsewhere will enlighten us from their picket lines, the most attractive doubtlessly coming from Buffalo, New York, where union members benefit from “free” plastic surgery at taxpayer expense.

SOURCE: The Chicago Tribune


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Education
Author
Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing editor of The Federalist, a web magazine on politics, policy, and culture.
jpullmann@heartland.org @JoyPullmann

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