Months After Strike, The Chicago Teachers Contract Is Nearly Complete

The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools have finally resolved the last major contract issue — pay raises for veteran teachers.

strike
Chicago teachers picket during the Oct. 2019 Chicago teachers strike. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
strike
Chicago teachers picket during the Oct. 2019 Chicago teachers strike. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

Months After Strike, The Chicago Teachers Contract Is Nearly Complete

The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools have finally resolved the last major contract issue — pay raises for veteran teachers.

Six months after Chicago teachers walked off the job during an 11-day strike, the Chicago Teachers Union announced Tuesday it had reached an agreement on an unresolved issue that has been holding up the final signing of the contract.

The dispute was over how to pay out $25 million for veteran teachers over the five-year contract. The union wanted it all in raises, called steps. But the school district wanted it to be in bonuses. The amount was nailed down in the fall but not the details.

The final agreement calls for two raises after 17 and 23 years of service and one bonus at year 30.

As far as the district is concerned, the contract is completely settled, save for some final editing, according to a CPS official. The union did not confirm this, but a source said some small issues still need to be hammered out before the contract can be signed.

“This is a great day for our veteran educators who, after years of service, are being recognized for their contributions,” the union said in a news release posted on its website. “Adding $25 million to steps honors their work, and goes a long way towards keeping educators in the profession.”

The union also noted that teachers with more than 20 years will now be making more than $100,000.

The CPS official said offering more money to veteran teachers could help keep some in the school district. However, he noted that veteran teachers have a 95% retention rate so losing experienced teachers is not a big concern.

Sarah Karp covers education for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter @WBEZeducation and @sskedreporter.