compromise - com·pro·mise - noun - a settlement of differences by mutual concessions where no one is happy with the result but both parties are able to walk away without egg on their face.
Okay, so that's not the official definition, but it's pretty close. You know what else might be close? A settlement to the labor strife between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union.
CPS wants a longer school day and a two percent raise for teachers. CTU wanted a 30 percent raise due to the longer school day, (or presumably, less of a raise and the school day remaining among the shortest in the country).
CPS has said the school day length is non-negotiable. CTU has authorized a strike over the pay issues. An arbitrator tried to settle things but was rebuked by both sides. The dispute escalated to the point where it was starting to look like school wasn't going to start on time.
And yet, a majestic possible-partial-resolution has arrived, along with hope of resolution to the entire matter. CPS has agreed to hire 477 teachers to cover the lengthened school day, reports the Chicago Tribune.
This means the school district can keep their longer day at the low price of about $50 million, which is far less than the arbitrator's proposed 15-to-20 percent teachers' raise, which would have cost about $330 million.
So, does this mean CTU gets the raise it wants, on top of the new teachers? Probably not. It'll likely be something in the neighborhood of a few percent per year, for a few years, to cover increases in the cost of living.
And does CPS come anywhere close to balancing their budget? With a $665 million budget shortfall, the expected $50 million expense for new teachers, plus the upcoming deficits of $1 billion per year for the next couple of years, the short answer is no. Not even close.
No one's happy, yet they can all claim partial victory. That sounds like compromise and the collective bargaining process in a nutshell.
- Speak to a Chicago Employment Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Chicago's big school deal: Longer days for kids, hundreds more teachers (NBC News)
- Teachers' Rights and Teacher Unions (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Chicago Teachers Union Set to Strike Over Grant, Contract (FindLaw's Chicago Employment Law Blog)