Chicago Teachers Union asks for 9% annual raises as bargaining sessions are set to begin

Chicago Teachers Union asks for 9% annual raises as bargaining sessions are set to begin

The Chicago Teachers Union is asking for 9% annual raises or compensation equivalent to the consumer price index, whichever is higher, as part of its contract proposals, to account for rising inflation and the cost of living.

The union’s raise request also aims to improve teacher retention and recruitment in Chicago Public Schools.

The 30,000-member teachers union publicly launched its bargaining efforts earlier this week, calling proposals for their four-year contract renewal with CPS the “most ambitious” yet.

“It’s not just our economic proposals,” CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said at a Tuesday morning news conference on bargaining efforts.

The CTU has yet to specify all demands included in contract proposals. But at the forefront of priorities is paying the union’s workforce of predominantly women “their fair share” and to raise the floor for paraprofessionals such as clerks and teacher assistants who are the lowest wage earners in the union, Davis Gates said Tuesday.

The union has also promised to extend negotiations “beyond economic proposals.”

“We are asking for substantial amounts of investment into our school community,” added Davis Gates, flanked by educators who advocated for expanding bilingual, sports, fine arts and restorative justice programming and Sustainable Community Schools.

To bring the public to the table in finding solutions, CTU said it sent a request to CPS last Friday to live-stream bargaining sessions. The district has not responded to the request.

CPS has said it wants to learn more about the union’s request and that the district “looks forward to negotiating a fair contract that balances the interests of the hard-working educators with our budget constraints” when negotiations commence.