CPS Custodians Recoup $2.2 Million in Longevity Pay

CPS Custodian

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) custodial staff, represented by SEIU Local 73, will receive $2.2 million in a longevity pay grievance settlement approved by the Chicago Board of Education today.

The settlement results from a multi-year fight to secure contractually specified longevity pay for 253 CPS custodians. This victory demonstrates the importance and power of labor unions to protect workers’ rights.

“We the custodians are thrilled and excited that our union Local 73 has emerged victorious in the 2019 grievance for longevity pay for custodians! Many of my coworkers and I are living paycheck to paycheck, so this settlement victory is a huge blessing to us. We needed the money back in 2019 and we still do! With the money I am getting back, I’ll be able to continue supporting my son’s college tuition,” said Veronica Heard, Local 73 Executive Board Member and Lead Custodian at Lincoln Park High School. “This win exemplifies our power and serves as a testament to what we can win when we’re united. Together, we will continue to advocate for fairness, respect, and economic justice!”

“I’ve been a Custodian for over 25 years and not receiving my longevity pay since 2019 has been a huge problem. I love my job and the students are the reason I stay, but workers deserve to be paid for their dedication. Through our union, we were able to win back the longevity pay we are owed and because of this I can finally move forward with buying a house for me and my family,” said Tommie Johnson, Custodian at Al Raby High School.

The settlement comes as CPS custodians and the 11,000 CPS support staff have been working without a contract since June 2023 and have not received a raise since July 1, 2022, despite record inflation.

CPS support staff, which include Special Education Classroom Assistants, Custodians, Crossing Guards, Bus Aides, Security Officers, and Parent Workers, are negotiating for a fair contract that meets the needs of workers and communities alike, including:

  • Job security with respect for seniority and due process
  • Provide student services by respecting staff’s job duties
  • Fair pay with COLA and longevity increases
  • Equitable pay over breaks
  • Clean and safe schools
  • City-wide orientations and training with union access