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Chicago charter school union votes to unify with Chicago Teachers Union

By staff |
June 11, 2017
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Chicago, IL - In an historic vote, members of ChiACTS Local 4343, the union of charter school educators in Chicago, voted overwhelmingly to unify with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), June 9. CTU members will vote on unification with ChiACTS this fall. Ballots from union charter schools were counted after the close of the Friday school day. Final vote counts of the 1,000-strong union were 671 in favor and 130 against unifying - or about 84% of voting members supporting unification.

“All Chicago educators, charter and district, face the same challenges, shrinking budgets, layoffs, union-busting, lack of voice, and a wholesale assault on the quality of the education of our students,” said Chris Baehrend, President of ChiACTS Local 4343, the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers And Staff, which represents 32 charter schools in Chicago.

Baehrend continued, “This vote for unification is a vote for educators with both ChiACTS and the CTU to speak with a stronger collaborative voice for real educational justice for all of our students. It is our identity as public educators -- not our employers -- that defines us, and our overwhelming vote for unity affirms that charter educators are educators first, and servants of the public with a shared commitment to the futures of our students across the city.”

The CTU will engage in its constitutional change process in the fall, and a formal merger will occur pending a supportive vote from CTU members.

“The CTU supports union rights for all educators in Chicago, including charter school teachers,” said CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey. “Local 4343’s vote for unity takes a stand for using our collective power to support quality public education for the students we all serve.”

ChiACTS is the largest union of charter school educators in the nation. While the two unions have worked closely together on issues that range from contract negotiations to legislative initiatives, unification would bring them into a formal alliance that would preserve the autonomy of ChiACTS’ educators’ councils while amplifying the united union’s reach in the civic and political spheres.