Understanding the Chicago Teachers Union's unprecedented contract demands

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has proposed a new contract with a substantial list of demands, which, if met, would impose significant financial burden on the city’s taxpayers. According to an analysis, the estimated costs range from $10.2 billion to $13.9 billion.

Among the demands that can be roughly estimated are minimum salary increases amounting to $2.52 billion, step increases for experience costing $817 million, enhanced stipends potentially worth $2 billion, hiring additional personnel, such as teachers’ assistants and specialists, costing $1.7 billion, student benefits totaling over $643 million, and housing initiatives that could cost up to $4.7 billion.

The union’s demands also include health and wellness provisions, such as full funding for infertility and abortion care, weight-loss treatments, and other extensive health services. Transitioning to an electric school bus fleet and pursuing green initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 are also included in the demands.

If these demands are met, Chicagoans could face increased property taxes, leading to potential foreclosures for those who cannot afford them. The city would also need to search for new revenue streams to cover these costs.

However, it’s worth noting that since 2012, despite a 97% increase in spending, academic proficiency rates in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have declined, with reading proficiency dropping by 63% and math proficiency dropping by 78% for grades three through eight. Given the costs outlined above, annual spending in CPS is expected to triple compared to 2012 levels.

The CTU and its affiliates were significant backers of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who is now responsible for representing taxpayers in these negotiations. As a former CTU activist, there is a potential conflict of interest in him being involved in collective bargaining with his former employer. Therefore, it may be prudent for him to recuse himself from these negotiations.

.st1{display:none}See more