Hundreds of educators stop paying money to Chicago Teachers Union following Janus decision

Mailee Smith

Senior Director of Labor Policy and Staff Attorney

Mailee Smith
August 23, 2018

Hundreds of educators stop paying money to Chicago Teachers Union following Janus decision

At least 300 Chicago Public Schools employees have stopped paying fees to the Chicago Teachers Union after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they could not be forced to pay the union just to keep their jobs.

At least 300 employees of Chicago Public Schools have stopped paying fees to the Chicago Teachers Union, according to WBEZ.

This follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision, which held that public employees have a right to refuse to pay fees to a union.

It’s little wonder hundreds of CPS teachers and staff don’t want to financially support the union. The actions of union leadership have been detrimental to students, parents and teachers.

WBEZ notes financial mismanagement of the union has led to criticism of its leadership among rank-and-file members. One particularly concerning expense funded by member dues is rent on empty office space in the Loop after the union moved to a new headquarters on the city’s Near West Side.

Beyond the union’s wasteful spending, CTU orchestrated two of the nation’s biggest public employee strikes in the last decade, walking off the job and leaving students and parents in a lurch.

In 2012, CTU went on strike, causing students to miss instruction time and students’ families to scramble to make alternate arrangements during the strike, which lasted seven school days. Thousands of students had no place to go during the day.

The 2012 strike also had longer-term effects. In the months after the strike, CPS had to close 50 schools and lay off thousands of employees.

Then on April 1, 2016, CTU once again turned its back on students and parents by calling a one-day strike.

What’s more, the union even punished teachers who chose to support their students that day. Joe Ocol, a teacher and chess coach in Englewood, one of Chicago’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, went to school April 1 to coach his chess team – and his team subsequently took home a national championship. But CTU did not look favorably on Ocol’s decision to prioritize his students over the union’s agenda, and it expelled him from the union.

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board subsequently found the April 2016 strike was likely illegal. But the damage had already been done.

CTU almost walked out again in September 2016. The union obtained the member vote authorization to go on strike, but a contract with CPS was negotiated at the last minute. CTU also considered walking out once again May 1, 2017, but that strike was tabled.

Many CPS employees have had enough of CTU’s militant tactics.

But thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus, educators and staff represented by CTU can now leave the union for any reason, including the following:

  • The union spends too much on political causes
  • The union isn’t representing members well
  • Employees would like the freedom to make choices that benefit them and their families – such as going to work during CTU strikes – without the threat of union repercussions
  • It would help employees’ family budgets if the union wasn’t taking dues money out of every paycheck.

If you are a CPS employee and would like to learn more about how you can stop sending a part of every paycheck to CTU, visit

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!