A 2-week strike against the Nation’s third largest public
school system ended when the Chicago Board of Education and the American
Federation of Teachers agreed on a 1-year contract. The stoppage involved 28,000 teachers and 12,000 members of 17 other unions who
accepted similar terms.
The teachers’ contract called for a 4.5-percent salary
increase effective December 17 and one-time bonus in March 1985 equal to
2.5 percent of earnings during 1984. The board also agreed to resume
paying the full cost of medical insurance, as it had done since 1971.
Earlier, the board had moved to ease its fiscal problems by requiring
the employees to begin paying 25 percent of the cost, which became a
major issue in the dispute. To some extent, medical cost will be
moderated by a new plan under which the board will contract with certain
hospitals to treat employees. If the employees use other hospitals,
they will have to pay higher deductibles.
In another cost-containment move, the parties agreed to make up
only 5 of the 10 school days lost due to the strike. The board also
voted to cut the number of teaching positions, reduce funds for
maintenance and supplies, and eliminate a proposed plan to improve
academic standards. scheduled to expire in July 1985. The cut affected
8,000 union members plus 4,000 nonunion employees who had earlier agreed
to the plan.
The company, which lost $15.5 million in the third quarter of 1984,
attributed its difficulties to lack of finances and management talent to
carry out a diversification plan.