CPS teachers may not be paid for days they refused to report to classrooms

Chicago kids are getting ready to head back to class after another long fight between the school district and the teachers union.

The union won two demands, but not others. And, in a big departure from past CTU job actions, this time Chicago teachers may not be paid for any of the days that they refused to report to their classrooms.

Those four missed school days could cost a typical teacher more than a thousand dollars in lost pay. The union did get a promise of increased COVID testing and, specific metrics for when the spread of COVID would force a school to flip to remote learning — main results of the job action.

"But for the action, I think, some really big pieces would be missing here. And having a metric, I think, is a key. Because it speaks to an objective standard and understanding that the parties are going to rely on it," said University of Illinois Professor Robert Bruno.

Legal experts called the teachers job action an illegal wildcat strike, and a much larger than usual number of union members displayed their disagreement with it publicly — showing up to work at some schools.

Still, for some parents beleaguered by two years of the pandemic and its devastating impact on Chicago’s public school system, there is an overpowering sense of frustration that the union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot remain so bitterly at odds.


Former Chicago Tribune reporter Cornelia Grumman's son is a CPS high school senior considering colleges.

"There’s no communication with counselors or teachers who have to write recommendations. It's a critical time right now. And it's all shut down. And it just feels incredibly indulgent -- like they're not trying to problem-solve and really work with parents and the mayor's office and get through this. And the mayor just keeps getting rolled every day," Grumman said.

A union source said electronic ballots went out Tuesday to members to vote to accept or reject the tentative deal. Results are expected by Wednesday’s 4:30 p.m. meeting of the union's House of Delegates.