What you should know about the Chicago Teachers Union

What you should know about the Chicago Teachers Union

The Chicago Teachers Union put its lobbyist in the Chicago mayor's office and is now negotiating its next contract with him. What taxpayers should know about CTU, how it's impacted education, its leadership and its ambitions to be the political machine running the nation's third-largest city.

The Chicago Teachers Union has grown increasingly militant and political since the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators took over its leadership in 2010. With a new contract being negotiated in summer 2024 with a former employee – one whom CTU funded to get elected mayor – there are a litany of things taxpayers need to know about the union’s ability to delve into issues that have nothing to do with wages, benefits or working conditions. The Illinois Constitution now protects CTU’s ability to demand anything in its contract, from electric school buses to housing money for teachers.

Here is what taxpayers should know about America’s most powerful teachers union.

CTU’s political punch

Chicago Teachers Union spends $17M on Illinois political campaigns
Jan 26, 2023 – The Chicago Teachers Union has funneled more than $17 million to Illinois political committees since 2010, when the militant Caucus of Rank and File Educators took over leadership. Now, one of their employees is running for Chicago mayor.

Chicago Teachers Union, affiliates donate nearly $3.2M to Johnson campaign
Mar 8, 2023 – The Chicago Teachers Union and its affiliates have given nearly $3.2 million to Brandon Johnson’s campaign for Chicago mayor. The union has come under fire for shifting dues to political activities without members’ OK, but the cash is still flowing.

Chicago Teachers Union, affiliates biggest spenders on Chicago politics
Dec 12, 2023 – The Chicago Teachers Union and its state and national affiliates spent nearly $6.5 million on Chicago political candidates between Feb. 28, 2022, and May 4, 2023.

Chicago Teachers Union charges members $8 a month for Brandon Johnson campaign
Mar 9, 2023 – Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted to apportion $8 per month per member’s dues to help fund Brandon Johnson’s mayoral campaign. The motion to potentially triple the union’s campaign investment has drawn criticism from members.

CTU costs to taxpayers

Chicago Public Schools spends 55% more on 20% fewer students since 2010
Jan 10, 2023 – Over 87,000 students have left Chicago Public Schools and student proficiency rates have dropped since the militant Caucus of Rank and File Educators took over the Chicago Teachers Union in 2010. All that, and 55% higher costs.

Loophole will let Brandon Johnson collect public pension now worth $1.1M
Mar 23, 2023 – Mayoral candidate and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson is eligible to collect an estimated $1.1 million pension through the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund despite only teaching for four years. His future path could yield a public pension worth over $2.8 million.

Chicago Teachers Union demands $51K raise for average teacher
Mar 15, 2024 – Chicago Teachers Union contract demands would bring the average teacher’s salary to nearly $145K after cost-of-living adjustments and annual step increases. That’s $51K more atop the $43K union leaders have delivered since 2012.

Chicago teachers nearly triple private-sector salary growth
Mar 13, 2024 – Today’s average CPS teacher has seen a salary increase of 86% since the 2011-2012 school year. That’s over 2.5 times faster than inflation or the private sector.

Chicago Teachers Union wants housing assistance for teachers making nearly $100K
Mar 7, 2024 – New contract demands from the Chicago Teachers Union include housing assistance for teachers. Chicago’s median teacher salary is more than $93,000.

CTU leadership

Stacy Davis Gates: ‘unfair choice’ leads to private school for her child
Sep 8, 2023 – Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates said her child is in private school because the public schools lack resources. So why would she want to force low-income families into those schools?

Chicago Teachers Union president owes city $5,579 for utilities
Dec 7, 2023 – Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates has let $5,579 in Chicago water, sewer and trash bills pile up. She makes over $289,000 and demands the “wealthy” pay a greater share. So why doesn’t she pay her fair share to a city in financial turmoil?

Stacy Davis Gates gets a homeowner’s tax break for an Indiana home she doesn’t live in
Nov 6, 2023 – Stacy Davis Gates is taking a property tax break on a house she owns in Indiana but doesn’t live in. She and her husband own a home and reside in Chicago. So how can the Chicago Teachers Union president claim to live in two places?

Chicago Teachers Union president misses deadline to pay back taxes, penalty
Dec 11, 2023 – Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates missed the deadline to pay $1,533 in back taxes and penalties on her Indiana house. She was fined for taking a homeowner’s property tax break on a South Bend house she didn’t live in.

Chicago Teachers Union membership drops under Stacy Davis Gates’ leadership
Oct 10, 2023 – Nearly 500 education employees have stopped affiliating with CTU in the past year. But the number of members leaving the union could be even larger than currently reported.

Stacy Davis Gates’ income is 543% more than families she wants denied scholarships
Oct 2, 2023 – New data filed with the U.S. Department of Labor shows Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates’ total income tops $289,000. The average household income of families receiving the Invest in Kids scholarships she wants to kill “for good” is just $45,046.

CTU’s impact on Chicago education

Chicago Teachers Union pushing school model where kids perform poorly
Feb 26, 2024 – Chicago Teachers Union leadership will use this summer’s contract negotiations with Chicago Public Schools to push for expansion of “sustainable community schools” in the district. The model doesn’t work: students perform worse, absenteeism rises.

Most Chicago students still read, perform math below grade level
Nov 1, 2023 – Chicago students made gains in proficiency in reading and math on 2023 state assessments compared to 2022, but most students continue to perform below grade level. Overall student proficiency rates remain worse than before the pandemic.

One-third of Chicago Public Schools are less than half full
Jul 28, 2023 – Chicago Public Schools has a school utilization problem. Over 34% are less than half full, 57% are underutilized, and 5% are overcrowded. Just 35% are at ideal capacity. The Chicago Teachers Union is preventing solutions.

Chicago Public Schools hit record graduation rate as math, reading scores drop
Feb 9, 2023 – Academic proficiency is down, chronic absenteeism is up and Chicago Public Schools celebrates its rates of students graduating and freshmen “on-track.”

Chicago’s chronic school absences hit Hispanic students hard
Feb 6, 2024 – Absenteeism rates among Hispanic students in Chicago Public Schools are chronically high. Proficiency in reading and math is low.

More than 2-in-5 Chicago low-income students chronically absent
Jan 24, 2024 – Chronic absenteeism rates are higher in Chicago than statewide, with 44% of low-income Chicago students missing at least 10% of their days in school.

Less than 1/3 of Chicago grads complete college in expected 4 years
Dec 29, 2023 – Research finds less than one-third of Chicago Public Schools graduates earned their bachelor’s degree in the expected four years compared to nearly half nationally. That means more are likely to live in poverty.

Chicago Teachers Union oversaw academic, enrollment drops as costs rose
Jun 17, 2022 – Nearly 80,000 students have left Chicago Public Schools and student proficiency rates have declined since the current leaders took over the Chicago Teachers Union in 2010. All that, and 55% higher costs.

CTU finances

Chicago Teachers Union spends less on representing teachers under Stacy Davis Gates
Oct 11, 2023 – Just 17% of CTU’s spending in 2023 was on representing its members – down from previous years on record.

Chicago Teachers Union runs first reported deficit under Stacy Davis Gates
Oct 5, 2023 – For the first time since the Chicago Teachers Union started filing federal reports, the union reported spending more money than it took in for its 2023 fiscal year. It underscores members’ concerns about union leaders for years failing to provide required audits.

Chicago Teachers Union ignores own mandate for financial transparency
Feb 14, 2024 – The Chicago Teachers Union hasn’t released an annual audit, required by its internal rules, for at least four fiscal years. What’s happening with members’ dues?

3 bad decisions drive up Chicago Teachers Union dues by over $160
Nov 22, 2023 – Chicago Teachers Union members are seeing their dues jump to more $1,400 this year – over $160 more than last year. Here are three reasons to believe CTU hiked dues to make up for its own questionable financial decisions.

Repairing Chicago education

Vallas: Only school choice can revive Chicago’s education system, save our kids
Jul 10, 2023 – With the public education system failing students, the only way to ensure all children have access to a good education is to expand educational options for all.

Vallas: Here’s where Chicago Board of Education should put its focus
Jul 17, 2023 – Mayoral appointments to the city’s school board tell the public a lot about that mayor’s philosophy. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to who Mayor Brandon Johnson is appointing. It’s also important to understand what options should be on the table when it comes to fixing the failing Chicago Public Schools system.


Over $23 million in tech devices missing from Chicago Public Schools
Jan 12, 2024 – Chicago Public Schools Inspector General’s report showed 77,505 devices were lost or stolen during the 2021-2022 school year. At 36 schools, every single student device was gone.

Nov 3, 2023 – Johnson announced his bid for mayor on Oct. 27, 2022. CTU’s federal filing shows it paid him more than $75,000 during its 2023 fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2023.

How Chicago Teachers Union sold $50M high-rise, hid cash from oversight
May 19, 2022 – Chicago Teachers Union leaders made nearly $50 million selling property paid for with union member dues, only to shuffle the proceeds to a charity with less oversight. Members are voting May 20 for transparency from new leaders.

Oct 18, 2019 – Records show two Cook County Board members representing Chicago-area districts have each collected more than $100,000 from the Chicago Teachers Union atop their $85,000 commissioner salaries.


Chicago Teachers Union idles students, threatens 4th strike in 9 years
Jan 27, 2021 – All of the evidence supports getting Chicago students back in the classroom after more than 10 months. The Chicago Teachers Union is refusing to let teachers accompany them.

Chicago Teachers Union’s illegal strike is over, but parents sue to stop next one
Jan 14, 2022 – Parents of Chicago Public Schools students sued to end the “remote work action” by Chicago Teachers Union members that kept 340,000 students out of classrooms for five days. The walkout is over, but the lawsuit is continuing to prevent the next illegal strike.

Strike cost Chicago students 5 days; Amendment 1 could cost them many more
Jan 12, 2022 – Voters will decide Nov. 8 whether the Chicago Teachers Union will have a permanent right to walk out on students for whatever reason union bosses decide.

Chicago Teachers Union uses COVID-19 to walk out on students, again
Jan 5, 2022 – Chicago schools closed Jan. 5 when the Chicago Teachers Union voted to keep members out of classrooms, trying to force an end to in-person learning over COVID-19 concerns.

Illinois teachers unions have threatened to strike 188 times since 2010
Aug 18, 2023 – Illinois public school students are at a severe disadvantage. Educational unions here can strike, keeping kids out of school, but that’s not the case in other big cities or neighboring states.

Pritzker signs bill making it easier for Chicago Teachers Union to walk out on students
Apr 8, 2021 – A new law gives the Chicago Teachers Union more leverage in contract negotiations, and more opportunities to go on strike. Eight of the nation’s 10 largest school districts prohibit teacher strikes.

Chicago Teachers Union on strike for third time in 7 years
Oct 21, 2019 – After rejecting an offer based on recommendations of a neutral third-party report, Illinois’ largest teachers’ union walked out on their students Oct. 17.


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