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ASPIRA Educators Reach Tentative Agreement With Management

Posted by Admin On March - 10 - 2017

Agreement will go to rank and file in coming week for review and vote, averting first strike in U.S history of charter school network.


CHICAGO, IL – Educators at ASPIRA’s charter schools came to a tentative agreement with management tonight, averting what would have been the first strike of a charter school network in U.S. history.


ASPIRA runs four publicly funded Chicago charter schools serving roughly 1,800 mostly Latino students. ASPIRA educators – all members of ACE, “A Council of Educators” with ChiACTS Local 4343, which represents educators at 32 charter schools in Chicago – have been negotiating for a new contract for ten months. In February, 99% of voting bargaining members voted to strike.


“This tentative agreement acknowledges the vital importance of union educators in the quality of education in our schools,” said acting ACE president Marines “Mari” Martinez. “This has always been about, first and foremost, creating working conditions that support the sustainability of four great schools and the students who rely on us for a quality education. We think this tentative agreement advances those goals.”


The tentative agreement includes:

  • For 2016-2017, a 3.25% raise retroactive to the start of 2nd semester.

  • For 2017-2018 a 3.0% raise.

  • Maintenance of the 2% employee pension contribution with 7% pension pick-up paid by management.

  • A reduction of the 2016-2017 school year by 1 1/2 day with NO impact on educational time for students.

  • A reduction of the 2017-2018 school year by 4 days with NO impact on educational time for students..

  • A reduction in the 2017-2018 school day from 8 hours to 7 hours and 35 minutes with NO impact on educational time for students.

  • Minimal increase in insurance costs.

  • An increase of four weeks of vacation time, plus 13 additional PTO days for 52-week counselors and mentors (these members were recently added to the bargaining unit in via an election in June 2016).

  • An increase in salary from $33,000 to $40,000 for two 52-week mentors.

  • Educators  also maintained a strong layoff policy that prohibits layoffs after the last day of the school year.


Copies of the final agreement will be made available once ratified by members.


“This has been a challenging negotiation, but the effort has opened the door to real prospects for long-term improvements in our schools,” said Martinez.


“We’ve seen some progress in recent days in management’s willingness to move more quickly to address issues related to maintenance and repairs,” said Martinez, who has joined fellow educators in recent weeks in raising the alarm about physical conditions in the schools. “In addition, we continue to explore strategies going forward to bring more financial transparency and accountability over the long term to ASPIRA’s governance of our schools, and we expect to be able to announce further developments in this effort in a joint press conference after our rank and file has had an opportunity to review and vote on this agreement.”


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