If charter schools don’t want their teachers to unionize, they’ll have to pay them like they’re in a union
The salary gap with public school teachers is one factor pushing charter teachers to unionize.
Back in 2012, when Chicago Public Schools teachers went on strike, Juan Rangel, the CEO of the UNO Charter School Network, proudly told reporters his schools were open.
And they had plenty of vacancies, so parents pissed off at the striking Chicago Teachers Union should come on down and enroll their kids. A similar note was sounded by other charter operators—and the subtext was hard to miss.
Charter school teachers don't want a union, wouldn't join one if they could, and, as one prominent business leader put it, don't even need one.
"The good teachers know they'll do fine," Bruce Rauner said in a speechshortly after the strike. "It's the weak teachers. It's the lousy, ineffective, lazy teachers that—unfortunately, there are a number of those—they're the ones that the union is protecting."
Man, how things have changed.
Rauner—now our governor—is still singing his same antiunion song. But Rangel's long gone from UNO, having been ousted after a contracting scandal. And UNO's teaching force is now unionized.
In fact, teachers at 32 of the city's 125 charter campuses are unionized. Last week, the teachers at one of these charters, Aspira, came close to going on strike before settling for a two-year contract with annual raises of 3 and 3.5 percent.
And now, teachers at Noble schools have announced they're taking the first steps to forming a union at their 17 Chicago campuses.
There are several reasons why charter school teachers are talking unions—including the uncertainty brought on by Rauner's withholding state aid to Chicago's schools, charters included.
But I'd like to focus on one money issue nobody wants to talk about: teacher salaries. As in how charter school teachers make less than their unionized peers.
Look, I realize it's unseemly to talk about salaries when it comes to If charter schools don’t want their teachers to unionize, they’ll have to pay them like they’re in a union | On Politics | Chicago Reader: