The Chicago Teachers Union has rejected a four-year contract offer from the city, sending talks that have gone on for more than a year into a final stage.

“The real problem is the lack of trust in CPS,” CTU President Karen Lewis said at an afternoon press conference.

The union’s 40-member “Big Bargaining Team” voted against sending the four-year proposal to the larger House of Delegates. Talks to replace a contract that expired June 30 will now move into a fact-finding stage, which by law must go on for about four months before a strike could occur.

“I know people were expecting something completely different,” Lewis said of the union’s rejection. “But that’s not how we work as the Chicago Teachers Union.

“It doesn’t matter what one person wants or what two people want or what three people want. People need to understand that our big bargaining team is an extension of the officers, and the experts and the lawyers who come with us to have conversations with the board.”

Chicago Public Schools had offered teachers a four-year deal that would bar economic layoffs, put a cap on privately run charter schools and provide some moderate pay increases, sources said last week. In exchange, union members would have had to make concessions that included paying more toward their pensions and health care expenses.

Morning Spin: Duckworth snags teachers union endorsement in U.S. Senate race

Morning Spin: Duckworth snags teachers union endorsement in U.S. Senate race

Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield.

Topspin

It’s Monday, Feb. 1, and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth has gotten a new endorsement in her primary campaign for the Democratic U.S. Senate…

Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield.

Topspin

It’s Monday, Feb. 1, and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth has gotten a new endorsement in her primary campaign for the Democratic U.S. Senate…

(Tribune staff report)

The district said Monday that its proposal also included a commitment to restore a city property tax levy solely for teacher pensions, a move that would require state approval. In a statement, district CEO Forrest Claypool said he was “disappointed” with the union’s decision.

“This agreement provided pay raises, guaranteed job security and met the union’s key demands, including restrictions on charter school expansion, raises for seniority in addition to cost-of-living increases, and more classroom autonomy for teachers,” Claypool said.

“We are committed to returning to the bargaining table and working around the clock to reach an agreement,” he said.

CTU leaders had deemed the city’s proposal a “serious offer” in agreeing last week to take it to its bargaining team for a vote.

CPS has for many years picked up 7 percentage points of the 9 percent pension contribution required of teachers and many staff members. Last year, the district ended the practice for its nonunion workers; under the current offer, the practice would be phased out for teachers.


Chicago Teachers Union bargaining team rejects contract

Chicago Teachers Union bargaining team rejects contract

CTU’s bargaining team rejects contract offer from the City of Chicago. Feb. 1, 2016. (WGN-TV)

CTU’s bargaining team rejects contract offer from the City of Chicago. Feb. 1, 2016. (WGN-TV)

See more videos

CPS would phase out its longstanding practice to absorb the bulk of teachers’ required pension contributions. New hires would have to pick up their entire share of pension costs right away.

CPS also could not increase the number of charter schools beyond the 130 or so that operate now, a source said. The district could approve and open new charter schools if it closes others. The CTU has long opposed the privately run, publicly funded schools, where teachers are not CTU members.

Under state law, the two sides must engage in fact-finding, which involves a representative from each side and a neutral party, for up to 120 days before a strike could take place. Assuming the process gets underway this week, that would extend to the end of May. Final day of classes is set for June 21.

Teachers have already voted to authorize their leaders to call a strike, if deemed necessary.

The union’s rejection could impact the district’s efforts to add to its already-sizeable debt load in order to stay afloat. The district last week put off a bid to borrow up to $875 million, placing the deal on day-to-day status while courting potential investors.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s was in New York on Monday for meetings with financial insitutions, his office said.

CPS already has scaled back the size of the deal by hundreds of millions of dollars, and if it goes through, the district is expected to pay very high interest rates because of its junk bond rating status.

Claypool has said the district expected to complete the deal by early this week at the latest.

In recent days, negotiators on both sides of the table have said that talks have gained steam following Republican proposals to allow a state takeover of the cash-strapped district, and also allow the district to declare bankruptcy.

jjperez@tribpub.com

Twitter @PerezJr

Article source: http://chicagotribune.feedsportal.com/c/34253/f/622809/s/4d49794c/sc/13/l/0L0Schicagotribune0N0Cct0Echicago0Eteachers0Eunion0Econtract0Edecision0Emet0E0A20A20E20A160A20A20Estory0Bhtml/story01.htm