Monday, April 09, 2007

Union Election News at Catalyst

Union campaign heating up - A decent round up of the issues, but not much "there" there. I understand why though. I mean, why would Stewart say anything resembling the truth when dissembling works so well for her? Read the article in full here.

My favorite? Catalyst has a graphic on the number of teachers who did not yet have tenure and were "let go" by their principals the last two years (the famous "click").

This is one issue that UPC and Stewart has used to try and pillory Debbie Lynch. What UPC and Stewart never say is that under the contracts UPC had negotiated in the past, teachers could spend their entire career without ever getting tenure.


PACT and Lynch solved that problem. They forced the Board to put every new hire on the tenure track from day one. A vast improvement over the old way of doing business.

The catch? If everyone is on tenure track from day one, principals would get the right to fire when they wanted within the three year period. Seems a fair trade for ending a system where you could spend years and years not working towards tenure. I certainly think the new way is a better way.

So it turns out that UPC's complaints are not very significant (compared to working for ten years and still not having tenure like they had negotiated in the past). Yes, it turns out that most teachers find jobs at other buildings if they are let go from one building. It is not the tragedy UPC makes it out to be. But then, so few of UPC's claims survive the light of reasoned analysis anyway.

Anyways, here is the Graphic from Catalyst:

Catalyst also has a good story on rising health care costs and how, no matter who negotiates in June, will find themselves faced with a financial crisis for CPS no matter who wins:

But that increase would still provide little wiggle room during contract talks, given a cornucopia of rising costs, including teachers’ pension fund obligations, inflation and a possible deficit in the current budget. CPS is negotiating with Commonwealth Edison to hold the line on spiking utility rates.

Each percentage point increase in pay will prove pricey, costing the district roughly $25 million, says Martinez. Districts across the country are typically negotiating 3 percent to 5 percent raises, says Julia Koppich, an education consultant and former education faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley.

Chicago teachers received four percent raises in each of the last four years under the current 2003 contract, an amount that compared favorably with other urban districts. At the time, “teachers were getting 1 percent, 2 percent, if they were getting anything at all,” says Koppich.

Former union president Deborah Lynch took heat for that contract because teachers were hit with increased health care costs. But, as Koppich points out, “health care costs were going up everywhere. [The controversy] was a mystery to me.”

The controversy was a mystery to me. You said it. Now, can we finally put this misinformation to bed once and for all and get on with the job electing PACT and Lynch to represent us? At least with PACT in office, there might be fewer "Valentine's Day" parties paid for out of our dues.

1 comment:

ammartinek said...

I am tenured, yet I have good friends and great teachers who started the same year as I who are not currently tenured. Why, because the contract we were hired under allowed our principal to dangle assigned status under are noses and work us half to death. I was assigned first, so I got tenured first. It certainly was not a fair system. Now we have fairness and a timetable by which we can all expect tenure. I'd hate for us to lose that. Keep in mind, every system is open to manipulation just as it is open to improvement. The last contract was a major improvement in this area. Now, we have the challenge of making it even better. Failure to maintain or improve on this point would be a complete failure of union leadership.

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