Members of the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, the union representing teachers at the city’s charter schools, have voted to join the Chicago Teachers Union.
ChiACTS officials announced Friday that 671 of its members voted to consolidate with the CTU, while 130 members opposed the merger.
The consolidation won’t go through until the 25,000 members of the CTU vote on the issue.
“We expected that our brothers and sisters that are in the unionized charter school local were going to support unification, but we didn’t expect it to be such an overwhelming margin,” said Chicago Teacher’s Union staff coordinator Jackson Potter.
Charter schools and public schools may seem to be at odds, but Potter says most teachers see more common ground than opposition. Charters are public schools that are privately managed but publicly funded.
“It’s become increasingly obvious as we’ve worked together closely over the years that our concerns — the issues, the things we need to advocate around — are the same. Increasingly, we see our fates tied together.”
If the unions do consolidate, teachers at each unionized charter school network would still operate under separate contracts negotiated with each charter school operator.
They would be separated from the contract governing relations between the CTU and the Chicago Board of Education.
Unionized charter teachers would have the right to vote for CTU officers and win seats on the larger union’s executive board and House of Delegates.
Members of the CTU are expected to vote on the merger in the fall.