SEIU Local 73: Inching closer to a strike

Thousands of members of the SEIU Local 73 union plan to strike as early as mid-October if no agreement is made.Special education classroom assistants, bus aides, security guards, and custodians are calling on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to start negotiations again. The union says the original neutral fact-finder's report does not improve the lives of workers or address the needs of students for safe, clean schools. The report was issued after a three-day process, which included mediation sessions and two days of hearings.Still, the union says the contract doesn't provide the best educational experience for special education students. Instead, they say, the contract continues the practices of Rahm Emanuel's "harmful" administration. Some of the issues the union says were not addressed were the unfair working conditions. The worker's day starts at 5:30 in the morning and ends after 5:30 p.m. because of split shifts. Aides are paid for just four to six hours. Most bus aides have to find a second or third job to make up the money they need. On top of that, the union says special education assistants are extremely underpaid. The current starting rate is just under $32,000 per year; an average salary is about $36,000 per year. HUD'S current income guidelines for Chicago define a very low income as $35,650 and a low income of $57,050 per year. A Chicago Public School’s spokesperson says the fact finder’s report recommends CPS and Local 73 agree to a five-year contract that will provide a 16 percent salary increase for Local 73 members. On top of the 16 percent salary increase proposed for all SEIU Local 73 members, CPS has proposed that CPS custodian salaries be increased even further to match the collective bargaining agreement between the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA) and SEIU Local 1.The next meeting between the union and CPS is September 26th.

09/17/19 10:27AM