July 2, 2024

Illinois Policy Institute analysis shows the contract and radical demands could cost Chicagoans $51.5 billion or more


CONTACT: Micky Horstman (312) 607-4977

Chicago Teachers Union makes most extreme contract demands in U.S.
Illinois Policy Institute analysis shows the contract and radical demands could cost Chicagoans $51.5 billion or more

CHICAGO (July 2, 2024) – As the Chicago Teachers Union pushes for a contract that could cost taxpayers $51.5 billion or more, no other major city has allowed such extreme or pricey demands.

Almost none of CTU’s extreme political demands were identified in teachers union contracts in New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Oakland, Columbus or Minneapolis, according to new analysis by the Illinois Policy Institute.

CTU’s demands for its new contract fall outside the scope of traditional bargaining over wages and benefits. They prioritize political activism, including social justice and environmental policy typically decided by elected leaders rather than demanded by union bosses. Demands include carbon-neutral schools, electric buses, stipends for migrant students and homeless dormitory development.

If demands are accepted by Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, a former CTU lobbyist, Chicago would become the first large city to have these demands cemented in a teachers union contract. It would be home to the most extreme contract in the nation.

“No other union in the nation is going as far as the Chicago Teachers Union. Its demands highlight its quest for power and expediency, pushing a radical political agenda on parents and students at the taxpayers’ expense,” said Mailee Smith, senior director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. “The city can’t afford these egregious demands as CPS is already facing a $400 million hole in 2025. But with their former lobbyist in the mayor's office, CTU is well positioned to make off with some of its big-ticket items – which could end up costing Chicagoans billions.”

In 2022, Illinoisans passed Amendment 1 which permits government unions to negotiate over any type of provision and allows their contracts to supersede state law. The Chicago Teachers Union was one of the leading supporters of this amendment.

“The union is trying to force legislation and their ideology through collective bargaining instead of through the traditional method of passing legislation. If CTU gets its way, other unions across the country will follow suit,” Smith said. 

To read more about the CTU demands compared to other large school district contracts, visit illin.is/ctucontract.

For interviews or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.