On Saturday an independent fact finder released a report on the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union bargaining process. Below are the basic details of what happened and the positioning of the two groups.

  • The report, authored by neutral party negotiator Steven Bierig, was released Saturday morning, it largely endorsed the offer to teachers put forth by CPS January 29 and rejected by CTU.

  • The fact finding plan (download here) recommended:

    • A four year contract.
    • Varying wage increases between zero and 3.75% over four years.
    • A resumption of “step and lane” wage increases, but not until second year.
    • Phase-out of 7% pension contribution over two years.
  • The Chicago Teachers Union immediately rejected the fact finder plan (download here) arguing that the plan effectively reduces teacher pay.

  • Teachers have been demanding:

    • A two year contract.
    • A 2% salary increase each year.
    • No change to step and lane wage increases and pension contributions.
  • CTU says the schools are “broke on purpose” and as a result, CPS “simply cannot afford to sign a contract” because of the debt it carries. In CTU’s opinion, the negotiator should be allowed to take into consideration the school system’s need to seek additional funding, not merely its current finances.

  • CTU points out the school system will have a negative cash position of -$846 million by June 30 through short-term borrowing. Including long-term borrowing, CPS will be $6.7 billion in debt.

  • CTU claims the problems stem from CPS refusing for years to “secure stable… funding” for operations, and that problems are compounded by “Governor Rauner’s jihad against CPS”

  • CPS concurred with fact-finder plan (download here) rejected CTU demands, saying it would cost $140 million more over two years

  • CPS projects it will have only $24 million cash on hand at the end of the school year, two days of payroll.

  • CPS says the “root of the problem” is with the state and Gov. Bruce Rauner who has committed “treachery” by subverting last January’s bond issuance.

  • CTU leaders have said they are preparing to strike. They may legally strike 30 days after the release of the fact finding plan, beginning May 16. CTU must provide a 10-day notice before striking. The school year is scheduled to end on June 21.