First Charter School Strike Likely Soon in Illinois


Apparently teacher union officials do not hate charter schools enough to refuse to move in and force charter school employees to endure their forced representation.  Both the NEA and AFT demonize charter schools.

Charter schools were developed to give parents choices about education and teachers to teach in freedom.  The truth, however, is also that many charter schools are easier to unionize as they come under the jurisdiction of the private sector National Labor Relations Act and are not subject to various state laws which govern the public sector.

Now the Chicago Teacher Union (an American Federation of Teachers affiliate) which represents Chicago charter schools, has taken a vote to strike.  Brandis Friedman has the story on

The union representing those teachers, the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, or ChiACTS, announced the results of the strike authorization vote Tuesday evening: 96 percent member turnout, with 98 percent voting to authorize a strike.

The vote affects all 15 of the Acero – formerly UNO – charter schools. That’s about 500 teachers, and 8,000 students.

The ChiACTS union is represented by the Chicago Teachers Union, which says it’s been negotiating with the charter operator for the last six months and isn’t getting very far. The union says it hasn’t yet reached the point of setting a strike date, but it will if negotiations fall apart completely.

The Illinois Network of Charter Schools, a nonprofit that advocates for charters in the state, is critical of the Chicago Teachers Union for representing charter teachers, because the union has been so critical of charters themselves.

“The solution is by getting charters access to additional resources, not CTU’s proposed solution, which is more collective bargaining contracts and forcing the hand of charters,” Broy said.

Broy also makes the case that charters schools actually receive 14 percent less than district-run schools – once the cost of facilities is factored in – not 8 percent more as the union is arguing.

Teachers from another charter operator, Chicago International Charter School, are taking a separate strike vote Friday. Of the 15 CICS schools, only four are unionized.

It’s worth noting that if any these teachers do strike, it’ll be the first strike of charter school teachers in the nation.