Chicago Teachers Strike

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by DakotaGuy, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    Jan 14, 2002
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    South Dakota, USA
    #1
    I have not noticed any discussion on this topic yet so I figured I would post a link. As a teacher in a right-to-work state where there is no binding arbitration my first reaction is that the teachers need to get back to work because at this point they are only hurting the students, but I can understand their concerns about the evaluation system. There is a national push from the Obama Administration on down to link evaluations to test scores. I believe there is some merit in this idea if the students are tested at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, but there are so many variables that can effect test scores. I believe that this is the main sticking point in the negotiations at this point.

    I was also surprised to see some of the demands in salary and benefits considering the district appears to be operating in a deficit.

    Things work a lot different in a right-to-work state as far as negotiations go. We do negotiate a contract, however we don't have many legal options to take if we don't get what we want. You can end up in impasse and take it to court, but the judge will most likely tell you to get back to work or lose your job. Over the years, however our negotiations have went pretty well and we have ended up with some good benefits and decent raises along the way.

    I know teachers (and especially unions) don't have the best reputation lately and as a teacher this strike almost makes me cringe because I am afraid it is only fueling the anti-teacher crowd.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...d-to-go-into-2nd-day-20120910,0,4057997.story
     
  2. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #2
    I love teachers. But, sometimes the teacher's unions deserve their bad reps. If they are asking for raises right now, that pretty much tells you what you need to know about this particular union.

    On the other hand, way too much time and emphasis these days is spent on testing and test scores. I know a lot of politicians love standardized tests, and, they do have their uses, but, like anything, you can have way too much of a good thing.
     
  3. malman89 macrumors 68000

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    May 29, 2011
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    Michigan
    #3
    I must say I haven't seen much un-biased coverage on the matter - especially the proposals/details to date. However, having lived in Chicago the past 5 years for college and then work, and knowing a handful of CPS (and CPS charter) teachers, it doesn't seem good.

    Rahm is a complete asshat, but in many ways is a refreshing change. The union leadership - especially the President - seems like a crazy old guard union leader that needs to go.

    I guess my one comment that I never see mentioned in any news story that I've seen on the issue is people mention cushy pensions, but those teachers cannot receive social security benefits as well. Also, IL is one of the worst states in terms of unfunded pension liabilities - mostly due to decades of older pension benefits. The current generation of civil servants will get dumped with that burden and have their benefits slashed.

    Kind of lost my train of thought and rambled a bit. Basically it's one huge mess.
     
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #4
    They really are not asking for a raise. They are just asking for enough to cover inflation and even then it is not keeping up.

    As for the issue they are fighting is something I agree with as to much of the schools are just teaching the test.
     
  5. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    Toronto, Ontario
    #5
    You don't get a raise if you are operating in large deficits even when the quality of your work is above par in the real world. These teachers are performing below par and asking for a raise, if I were making the same demands my boss would send me packing after a good laugh.
     
  6. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

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    #6
    They started out asking for 30% over 2 years. Source
     
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #7
    to me that seems to be SOP in any negotiations. Ask for big and work your way down. the fact that it ended at below inflation tells me a lot.
     
  8. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #8
    The fact that they think they deserve a raise at all tells me a lot.
     
  9. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    Feb 8, 2002
    Location:
    Illinois
    #9
    Part of the problem is that the school district agreed to raises and cost of living adjustments, and then has decided that instead of balancing their budget in the normal way, they are attacking the public workers who didn't cause the deficits.

    While I understand the economics of asking your employees to take a temporary pay cut, or negotiating lower or no pay raises in a new contract, what is happening is far more insidious. The state of Illinois has a massive deficit, but that doesn't mean it should be able to unilaterally ignore its contracts and try to balance its budget by forcing its employees to take massive pay cuts.

    How many times have you seen businesses or governments agree to pension plans and then choose not to fund their obligations? They turn around and demand that the employees eat the losses they didn't create. The money that should have gone into the pension plans (or teacher salaries, or whatever) went to tax cuts, pet projects, whatever else. It wasn't the employees fault.

    (edit) My understanding is that this strike is mostly about teacher evaluation methods and some other non-monetary issues.
     
  10. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #10
    Public worker's pension plans are part of the reason there is a deficit in the first place, the problem with unions and public workers in general is they try to segregate themselves from the "problem". Its like bitching about animal cruelty while snarfing down a cheeseburger from Mcdonalds.

    They are part of the problem and should be part of formulating a solution.
     
  11. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #11
    That argument would hold water to me if they were not doing tax cuts first. Raise the taxes up to where they were before and kill your pet projects then get back to me.
     
  12. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    Illinois
    #12
    How are public employee pension plans the problem? The State knows exacty how many people it employs and what its obligations are in order to remain current in its obligations. It stopped contributing enough a long time ago. That isn't the fault of the employees, but of the State. If it was running short on funds, it could have made tough choices as to what tax breaks or projects it would pay for, but instead of offending any voters, it has chosen to just stick it to the employees who gave up other options in order to have good benefits and a pension.
     
  13. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #13
    I think it is a more common problem in pensions in general. Companies would under fund them and keep just enough in them and well was fine until people started with drawing.

    Also a lot of states took the retirement funds and moved it in to general funds. That caused a lot of problems. Texas has for years been trying to move Teacher retirement into general funds and that has been fought tooth and nail by the teachers and teaching lobbing groups. They rightfully do not trust the state. Low and behold Texas teacher retirement is not in trouble. Odd isn't it.
     
  14. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #14
    As with any such negotiation, there are lots of viewpoints. But, I think any public union demanding a pay raise right now is, at the very least, "tone deaf", and, doing damage to the employees they think they are helping. Yes, inflation is eating away at everyone's paychecks, public and private. Yes, we need to restore taxes on the wealthy. Nevertheless, cities, counties, and states all over the country don't have the money right now. This part is the same as it is for any family with children: you tell the kids you don't have the money to go to Disneyworld this year, and you're going to go camp by a lake with the mosquitoes instead. It really doesn't matter whose fault it is that you don't have the money.

    Something a lot of people don't seem to know, though: in recent years, I have seen people accept mediocre jobs with schools/other public entities only because they wanted the healthcare benefit. I see healthcare driving people's employment and retirement decisions all the time. Healthcare is the primary driving force for economic decisions for almost everybody in my "demographic". I think that 50% of the U.S.'s economic problems right now are directly tied to the lack of a public option for healthcare. The price of healthcare for consumers has gone through the roof with the current insurance-based system. But, any kind of public option is "socialism" and we all know that any form socialism is always bad (except when we use it to build freeways). So, it is pretty sad in cases where low-paid public employees are excoriated because they are trying to hang on to their healthcare benefits. That doesn't seem to apply to the Chicago teachers situation, though.
     
  15. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #15
    Problem is we know from history full out and well if they do not push it threw now taxes will never be raised. The cost needs to go up before they consider taxes being raised.

    The history of cut taxes oh crap no money - cut public worker pay - savings in tax cuts - oh crap no money...
    Get back to us when taxes are raised again.
     
  16. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    Illinois
    #16
    The Chicago school district (CPS) had agreed to a 4% pay raise for the teachers but claimed they didn't have the funds in the budget. Turns out, CPS shifted 70 million dollars to another agency to avoid the pay raise. CPS on top of that has tried to increase the amount of time the teachers work by 20% without any additional pay.

    Can you imagine demanding 20% more work for 4% less than you agreed to pay in a contract from anyone? They would laugh at you. I know you agreed to install hard wood floors in these five rooms for $10,000, but you also have to install flooring in that dining room over there, and I'm only going to pay you $9600.

    Why is it ok to screw over employees of the state/local government, but no one else?
     
  17. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #17
    Yes, except:

    "The average teacher salary is $71,236 in the Chicago Public School district, which includes elementary schools and high schools, according to the Illinois Interactive Report Card of Northern Illinois University. The average in the state is $64,978."

    Illinois ranks 30 in ACT scores by state. So its more like being contracted to install hardwood floors, installing composite board instead and then bitching that your employer really wants to fire you, but can't so demands that you install in the dining room as well and not get a pay raise for doing it.
     
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #18
    Just going to point out Inner city school have hire pay than the suburbs across the board. It is harder to get teachers who even want to teach there so the pay is hire. It is not really out of line. If anything it is close to the average than other areas.

    Damn that little facts.
     
  19. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    Toronto, Ontario
    #19
    They shouldn't offer defined benefit pension plans at all. I must admit that I do not even understand how these things worked in the past. Someone works for your company for 30 years so you pay them during retirement until they die? Are there any caps on these types of things? If not, who thought this **** up?

    ----------

    The pay is higher because of the unions, I guarantee there are some recent graduates who would love a chance to teach and start building a career without squeezing the life out of the public coffers and provide sub par results to do so. Illinois is 30th in Standardized rankings, you forgot to address that part, thats below Nebraska and Kansas and I can guarantee their teachers aren't getting that amount.
     
  20. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #20
    Guys, this isn't about wages, its about tying teacher performance to standardized tests. The reason they have to say its about wages is because Rahm Emmanuel got a law passed that said wages are the only reason teaches can strike.

    So regardless of working conditions, workload, overcrowding, being forced to teach the test, The only way the chicago teachers can LEGALLY strike is if they declare the reason to be wages.

    It's pathetic that NONE of the mass media has picked this up. We are watching the final phases of the killing of the RIGHT to organize under the guise of "those damn greedy teachers!" I haven't seen one network news channel elaborate on this.

    Pathetic. :mad:

    http://news.yahoo.com/chicago-teachers-strike-illegal-under-illinois-law-222851216.html
     
  21. BladesOfSteel macrumors regular

    BladesOfSteel

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    St. Paul
    #21
    Yeah... that other agency - the Police Department which seemed to get its own sweetheart deal. I believe this extra funding was needed because what the city was paying quadrupled under the new deal. All this for a few cops and computer terminals at the schools. Necessary, yes, but for it to go up 4 fold over a year? I bit insane.

    Pay cuts happen. Back in 2008-2009, my entire company had to take it in the shorts. I think the pay cuts ranged from 10-15%. Granted, we aren't collectively bargained, but still, my terms of employment state that I was going to get X, but I got X-12%.
     
  22. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #22
    How far have the wages fallen in the years leading up to this? :confused:
     
  23. Dmunjal macrumors 65816

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    Jun 20, 2010
    #23
    71% of the budget goes to the pension. Why aren't current teachers complaining about that? Why are they going to taxpayers (who are already burdened by the recession) for more when a majority of existing funding is going to retirees?
     
  24. BladesOfSteel macrumors regular

    BladesOfSteel

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    St. Paul
    #24
    I'll add that I don't believe a teacher's job should hang solely on the test results. There are too many outside variables - #1 being home life.

    However, it shouldn't be based on seniority alone, either.

    There has to be some middle ground.
     
  25. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #25
    The test result thing is completely silly. Teachers can get around that easily by simply teaching kids to take the test. And really, any teacher who wanted to keep his/her job would do just that.
     

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