Chicago Teachers Union Wants $50B for Raises, Abortions

Teachers and their supporters attend a rally at Union Park in Chicago. | Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Teachers and their supporters attend a rally at Union Park in Chicago. | Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Chicago Teachers Union has come under fire for apparently demanding an extra $50 billion in contract negotiations to fund not only salary increases but abortion coverage in teacher health plans and resources for unlawful migrants.

While the demands have not been made public, Fox News reported that a leaked document shows union president Stacy Davis Gates is calling for a yearly 9% wage increase for members through fiscal year 2028.

The average salary of a teacher in Chicago is $93,182, according to the IPI, per Fox. What’s more, the document reportedly reveals the union is requesting 100% coverage benefits for abortion and fertility care.

CTU’s demands also apparently include having teachers undergo annual LGBTQ-sensitivity training and mandating that every public school has at least one gender-neutral restroom, reported Fox.

Beyond that, the union is reportedly also asking for $2,000 in taxpayer funding to be provided for each unlawful migrant student in the jurisdiction to aid in academics, transportation, and mental health counseling. Further, the union wants a “newcomer liaison” installed at all of Chicago’s nearly 650 schools to welcome new students, namely unlawful migrants, whom the demands also state should be housed in repurposed vacant school facilities.

The cost of the demands reportedly rounds out at about $50 billion. According to Fox News, that’s about $700,000 less than the total base tax receipts for the entire state of Illinois.

Mailee Smith, director of the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), claims that the union is driven by self-interest, reported Fox News.

“These demands read more like a political agenda than a serious contract intent on supporting teachers’ wages and benefits, and promoting the education of Chicago students,” Smith said in a statement published by Fox News. “These demands are far outside the scope of traditional bargaining, putting taxpayer dollars on the line in pursuit of more union power and social activism.”

The union’s steep demands come despite only 21% of the city’s eighth-grade students being able to read proficiently for their grade level in 2022, according to Nation’s Report Card.

“They do not want teacher evaluations and performance at all linked to teacher pay or benefits, what’s going on in the schools,” Smith said, reported Fox. “In fact, in these contract demands, they are trying to water down evaluation criteria for teachers, making sure that they’re evaluated less and that it really means less.”

“This is just par for the course for them. They are not pushing things that are best for students,” Smith said, per Fox. “They are pushing things that are best for their leaders’ political agenda. Other things that we see are climate justice demands, social justice demands, $2,000 per student for asylum seekers, they want housing for new teachers.”

Per Block Club Chicago, the leaked demands are only a “draft” of the union’s proposal that had not yet been ratified, reviewed, or voted upon by CTU’s House of Delegates. But the demands appear to mirror what was previously outlined in Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s transition report.

Gates has publicly predicted that negotiations will be “less of a soap opera” with Johnson — a former CTU organizer — as mayor, reported Block Club Chicago. According to public records, the union donated $2.5 million to Johnson’s campaign for mayor, per the news outlet.

“Anything that endeavors to transform schools that don’t have a sports program in the fall, winter or spring, it will cost money. We endeavored to put orchestra, band, choir and drama in all of our schools. … Those are things that do not exist consistently in every school community, so that will have a price tag,” the union leader said.

Gates said at a news conference kicking off the union’s contract campaign last month, “What we are going to do is engage this entire city of Chicago in a negotiation that we will be doing in the front yard. We will be inviting families to participate, our students to participate. We will be inviting Chicagoans who believe that this is the greatest city on earth to participate in building the greatest school district on earth,” reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

Teachers’ contracts expire in June.

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