On Thursday May 24, Chicago Public School (CPS) members joined a call to discuss important updates on upcoming contract negotiations, preparing for the Janus v AFSCME decision, and the work of the Committee on the Future.
The CPS Contract Action Team (CAT) meets every second Wednesday of the month to prepare for upcoming contract negotiations. Member leaders from this team have collected 1500 surveys from SECAs, bus aides, security officers, parent workers, and more in order to find out what matters most to them. We still need to engage more members to win a good contract that has better wages, fair evaluation procedures, improved route assignments etc. If you have not taken the survey, please talk to your steward, rep, or call the office at (312) 787-5868 to find out how to make your voice heard.
There are many concerns that members wish to address in the new contract but one that has truly stuck out is the unfair evaluation procedure. Currently, the CAT team is also circulating a petition to demand the Board of Education abandon the current evaluation process and create one that works for our members and not for supervisors or principals. Many members discussed discontent with an evaluation process that does not consider their work load, penalizes unfairly, and is used by supervisors to intimidate. Please contact us to learn more about the petition to abandon this flawed evaluation system.
The following issues were discussed on the call and will be revisited at future CAT meetings:
- Increased sick leave and sick leave days that can roll over at the end of a year.
- Improved working environments for members with health conditions.
- Concerns with improperly trained contract supervisors.
- Improved cleaning supplies.
There are more matters that need to be addressed in the new contract and we are grateful for those members who have stepped up to address them and are willing to fight for the best contract possible. Whether it’s a battle with the city or a battle with the governor, these challenges will not be easy to face but we are ready to take them on united.
A decision regarding the Supreme Court case Janus v AFSCME is scheduled to be made any day between now and June. We must continue to come together on calls, at meetings, and at rallies to keep our union strong. One way to show others that we stand united is the “Norma Rae Challenge.” In the 1970s classic labor movie Norma Rae, the title character stood up to management at her textile factory and declared her support for a union by holding up a makeshift sign that read “UNION” for all of her coworkers to see. Make your own “UNION” sign, take a picture and share on Facebook by tagging “SEIU Local 73” and on Twitter by tagging @SEIU73.
Also, the Committee on the Future has been working tirelessly to review our Local’s suspended Constitution and Bylaws so that we can all move forward stronger than we’ve ever been. Next week, you will be receiving a postcard with details on upcoming meetings and voting. A conference call will be held on June 7th at 6:30pm via conference call. Two meetings will be held at Local 73’s Chicago office (300 S. Ashland Ave., 4th Fl) on June 8th at 10am and at 5pm.
We are in challenging times but in the words of one of our members, Angel Rivera, “We need the union. There’s a lot of people questioning the union but if it weren’t for the union we’d be pushed around by the Mayor or Governor Rauner.”