A bill that would give the Chicago Teachers Union the right to strike over more issues — including class size, length of the school day, layoffs and outsourcing — got the go-ahead from an Illinois House committee on Wednesday.
Currently, economic issues are the only areas in which the school district is compelled to negotiate with the CTU, and the only areas over which teachers can strike. The issues included in Wednesday’s bill can come up in bargaining, but current law gives CPS the final say. The CTU is the only Illinois school district subject to these strike and bargaining limits.
Most of the restrictions date back to 1995, when former Mayor Richard M. Daley took over the school district and wanted more power over the school system. One of the most controversial provisions, which says CPS doesn’t have to bargain over the length of the school day and year, was added in 2010.
The restrictions have long been unpopular, but this is the first time the union has tried to repeal them in Springfield. Though the bill passed a House committee Wednesday, it’s far from becoming law.
CPS opposes the bill. Its labor attorney, Joseph Moriarty, argues that the restrictions resulted in 20 years of labor peace and allowed Mayor Rahm Emanuel to lengthen the school day, once one of the shortest in the nation.