Year At A Glance Calendar July 2024 To June 2025

Chicago Teachers Union demands include 45 days off, 9 new ways to take off

The Chicago Teachers Union contract already provides 43 days off each year to teachers during the school year, but CTU is seeking at least two more days outside of the classroom. Its demands also include nine additional or expanded types of leave.

At first glance, the Chicago Teachers Union’s demand for at least two more days off work for Chicago Public Schools teachers may seem reasonable.

Except CTU’s contract already provides extraordinary opportunities for time off and leave from work.

Currently, teachers can take at least 43 days off during the year and can apply for at least 15 different types of paid or unpaid leave. But that’s not enough for CTU.

Leaked documents show the union is demanding at least two more days off each year. It also wants to add or extend at least nine forms of leave.

Not only is such extensive time off practically unheard of in the private sector, but it also means additional days students within CPS won’t have their regular teachers in attendance.

The current CTU contract provides at least 43 paid days off during the school year – but CTU wants 45

Typically, there are two different ways an employee can get time off work: days off or leaves.

The current CTU contract allows teachers at least 43 days off each school year in the form of vacation, holidays, winter and spring breaks, personal days and sick days. That does not include the months of summer vacation.

What’s more, sick days awarded on or after July 1, 2012, can be carried over from year to year to a maximum accumulation of 244 sick days.

Each of these provisions remain in place in CTU’s demands for the upcoming contract – but CTU is pushing for even more.

In addition to the 43 days off, CTU is demanding all state and federal holidays it doesn’t already have. At the very least, this includes General Elections Day, a state holiday.

The union is also demanding a “personal medical release day” each year to be used for annual wellness check appointments. Again, this is in addition to the 12 sick days and three personal days already provided in the contract.

There are only 176 full student attendance days in the 2024-2025 CPS calendar. If CTU gets its way, teachers could be out of the classroom for 26 of those days for vacation time, sick days, personal days and the new medical release day. That’s nearly 15% of the time kids are in school.

The current CTU contract provides at least 15 different types of leave – but CTU wants to add or expand at least nine

The current CTU contract provides at least 15 different types of leave, some paid and some unpaid.

Some are fairly typical, such as bereavement leave. Others are unique.

For example, a teacher can leave CPS to work for the union or take elected office in 12-month increments. If the teacher comes back at the end of 12 months, he or she can return to the original position in the original school or unit. If teachers return after 12 months, they are assigned an equivalent position. All the while, they accrue seniority within CPS and can even contribute to the pension system to obtain pension credit for the time they work for the union.

So even if the type of leave is not paid, there can be perks or benefits offered during that time. And notably, there are additional forms of leave offered by the district that do not appear in the CTU contract, such as paid court attendance leave.

Still, it’s not enough for CTU. The union’s leaked demands show it wants to add or extend at least nine types of leave.

While some of the demands make sense – such as extending bereavement leave to include miscarriage – others are simply an exercise in union power.

For example, CTU wants leave time for teachers who are appointed to municipal office. The clear implication of such leave is that elected leaders – such as Mayor Brandon Johnson – who are bankrolled by the union into office can then appoint union friends to office without those friends having to permanently step away from their CPS jobs. In the meantime, those friends can continue to accrue pension credit by working other jobs.

The union also wants paid surrogacy leave. If both CTU’s salary demands and leave demands are met, that would mean the average CPS teacher could be out for eight weeks in the 2027-2028 school year, maintain a CPS salary of $144,620 for the 190 work days, while simultaneously earning an average of $58,000 for the surrogacy contract. 

These demands, among others that also fall outside typical negotiations, show how far out of touch CTU’s leaders are with Chicagoans. CTU President Stacy Davis Gates and her union cronies don’t care what it costs. They want more.

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