City Colleges reach labor agreement with teachers ahead of schedule

September 3, 2012

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City Colleges of Chicago 2011 Graduation ceremony (From City Colleges of Chicago Facebook Page)

Negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools continue to be tense.

But there’s another group of teachers in the city that have settled their next contract agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration ahead of schedule.

Teachers at City Colleges of Chicago won’t have to worry about working without a contract for the next six years.

That’s because the Cook County Teachers Union Local 1600 and City Colleges are set to ratify a five-year deal that will take effect when the current contract expires next June.

Chancellor Cheryl Hyman says the tentative deal reached Saturday puts them, “about 10 months ahead of schedule.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is praising the contract, which eliminates seniority raises after the first year and implements merit pay in years two through five. Emanuel wants a similar compensation system in Chicago Public Schools. The CPS Board of Education recently passed a budget that does not include “step” or seniority raises for its teachers.

Under the City Colleges agreement, all union members will still get a 2.5 percent cost of living raise each year. Employee health care contributions are set to increase from 13 percent to 16 percent over the life of the contract.

The deal must still be approved by the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees, which will vote Sept. 13.

Hyman says the agreement will save City Colleges several million dollars, but the “money will be invested directly back into the classroom.”

Meanwhile, Emanuel is negotiating with the Chicago Teachers Union, but faces the possibility of a strike at Chicago Public Schools during the second week of school.