June 14, 2012
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 today announced that a new three-year agreement has been ratified by the SEIU Local 73 membership. SEIU Local 73 is the second largest union in CPS, representing 5,500 custodians, child welfare attendants (CWA), watchmen, special education classroom assistants, children and family benefit liaisons, school bus aides, parent workers, security officers, security aides and PT security officers working in CPS. In May, CPS reached a five-year contract agreement with UNITE HERE Local 1, which represents 3,200 lunchroom workers.
“Like with UNITE HERE, we were far apart when we first sat down to the table with SEIU Local 73, but we worked through the process and found that when you keep lines of communication open and continue negotiating, agreement is possible,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “I would like to acknowledge and thank each of the 5,500 working members of SEIU Local 73 and President Christine Boardman for working with us and assuring school communities, parents and students that their members will be ready for the start of the school year with the signing of this new contract.”
Negotiations between CPS and SEIU Local 73 began in March and culminated on June 9 with ratification by its members. Contract highlights include:
- Short Term Disability and Maternity Leave: SEIU 73 members will move away from an antiquated sick day policy that ultimately penalizes employees who become sick or pregnant. CPS will provide members with access to a fair benefits system by offering Short Term Disability, which includes, for the first time ever, maternity leave coverage (56 percent of SEIU 73 members are female).
- Professional Development: CPS will assist Child Welfare Attendants interested in advancing into the Special Education Classroom Assistant role by reimbursing expenses for the required exam. In the summer of 2012, all Security Personnel will receive a specialized, three-day security training provided by an external vendor.
- Wellness Plan for Members: SEIU 73 will partner with CPS on a wellness plan to help motivate members to focus on their health and adopt better and healthier life choices. This is the same plan recently adopted by CPS Central Office employees and UNITE HERE Local 1.
- Employee Pay Increase: All employees will receive a two percent pay increase in each of the three contract years.
“Our members’ top concerns going into negotiations were to ensure that the Chicago Public School system provided Chicago’s children and young adults with a top notch public educational environment and job security,” said SEIU Local 73 President Christine Boardman. “Our committee feels they have substantially achieved these goals in a new three-year contract.”
This agreement with SEIU Local 73 represents the second major agreement reached with CPS over the past month. CPS and UNITE HERE Local 1 announced an agreement on May 3 that included first time ever short term disability and maternity leave for members, as well as a five-year moratorium on the conversion of cooking kitchens to warming kitchens.
To learn more about this agreement and the collective bargaining process the public can visit the new CPS collective bargaining website.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.