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Teachers union demands big raises, time off, paid transit

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(The Center Square) – Big pay raises and more days off are on the table for teachers in Chicago Public Schools.

The Chicago Teachers Union wants members to get a minimum raise of 9% annually and up to 45 days off during the school year.

Mailee Smith, senior director of Labor Policy for the Illinois Policy Institute, said the union’s terms include teachers taking up to a year off to work for the CTU Foundation or in municipal government.

“Having teachers outside the classroom is not what is best for students. This is a union power play to gain workers for their own pet projects, while guaranteeing that those workers will still get a pension paid for by taxpayers,” Smith said.

The union has also proposed that the Chicago Public Schools Board should secure free fares on Chicago Transit Authority trains and buses for all CPS students and employees. Smith wondered where the money would come from.

“That’s over 130 million tickets at over $122 million,” Smith said.

The CTU’s demand comes as the CTA faces a major fiscal cliff in 2026.

“That’s in addition to other demands that the union is making, such as a 100% electric bus fleet to get kids to school, so they are approaching this transit from all different types of expensive angles,” Smith said.

The transit terms are part of a proposal which features 9% annual raises and added time off for CTU members.

The existing collective bargaining agreement between CPS and CTU expires in June.