Upholding Workers’ Rights: Recent SEIU Local 73 Member Wins at CPS


SEIU Local 73 achieved important victories in advocating for the rights of its members, standing up against unfair treatment and securing well-deserved compensation. From ensuring job security to rectifying payroll discrepancies, the union’s efforts continue to make a tangible difference in the lives of its members.

Irma Olvera: Advocacy and Restoration

SEIU Local 73 recently reached a settlement with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that brought justice for Irma Olvera, a dedicated Special Education Classroom Assistant (SECA) at James Otis Elementary. Irma was placed into an impossible situation when she was tasked with supervising close to 80 students in a large, outdoor area during recess that had five open exits that students could run out of and onto city streets. A student ran off, and she was blamed for it and terminated. She and others had previously cautioned the principal of the dangerousness of conducting student recess this way, but were ignored. This incident raised concerns and emotions from parents, creating a challenging atmosphere.

The union stood strong, arguing that Irma Olvera should not bear responsibility for the incident. Her position presented an immense challenge in overseeing the safety of all students during that time. Furthermore, Irma’s three decades of service to the school system lent a weight of experience that an arbitrator could not ignore.

Drawing upon legal precedent, the union successfully navigated the intricate grounds of her case. The outcome led to Irma Olvera’s reinstatement with back pay, demonstrating the union’s commitment to both justice and due process.

As Irma Olvera prepares for her retirement in the coming year, SEIU Local 73’s advocacy has ensured her remaining time in service is filled with the dignity and respect she deserves.

“Local 73’s support was invaluable. Winning the case brought me a sense of justice after 30 years of dedication. As I near retirement, I’ll keep serving my community, sub as a SECA if I can, and make time for volunteering, fitness, and Church. I’m grateful for SEIU Local 73’s hard work; I’ll share their great help with coworkers and fellow union members,” said Olvera.

Security Officers: Unlocking Unpaid Overtime

SEIU Local 73’s recent CPS wins extend beyond individual cases, reaching a group of seven security officers between Kenwood Academy and Lakeview High School. Through persistent efforts and impactful grievance settlements, the union secured approximately $10,000 in unpaid overtime for these union members.

Kim Weston-Dodd: Restoring Equity

Another recent achievement involved rectifying a payroll error that affected Kim Weston-Dodd, a SECA III at Corliss High School. The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) had inadvertently continued to pay Kim at a lower classification (SECA II) from July 2021. Upon discovering the mistake, the CPS corrected the error for future payments but omitted the retroactive or back pay owed to Kim.

SEIU Local 73’s legal advocacy ensured that Kim received the fairness she deserved. Last week, CPS directly deposited nearly $1,000 into Kim’s account, demonstrating the union’s commitment to ensuring that members are treated with respect and equity.

Moving Forward

SEIU Local 73 will always stand up for its members’ rights and achieving justice in the face of adversity. These recent successes underscore the power of collective action and the crucial role that unions play in promoting fairness, dignity, and respect in the workplace. As SEIU Local 73 remains dedicated to its mission, members can expect the union’s fight to continue.

Have an issue at work? Reach out to your steward or representative to see how your union can assist.