Chicago Teachers’ $50 Billion Demands Include Pay Hikes, Abortions, Migrant Accommodation


The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is negotiating a new contract with the public schools system and is understood to be calling for an extra $50 billion to pay for wage hikes as well as other demands such as fully paid abortions for its members, new migrant services and facilities and a host of LGBT-related requirements and training in schools. 

To put the figure into context, the total base tax receipts for the state of Illinois last year were $50.7 billion.

The incredible demands are being made despite its members delivering underwhelming results for its students, with only 21 percent of the city’s eighth graders being proficient readers, according to the last Nation’s Report Card, which provides national results about students’ performance.

The union’s demands have not been made public but a leaked document sheds light on the eye-popping demands.

Union President Stacy Davis Gates’ audacious plan calls for members to bank at least 9% wage increases each year through fiscal year 2028.

The average salary of a teacher in Chicago Public Schools is $93,182, according to research by the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative nonprofit think tank. Therefore, the average teacher’s pay will increase by half to $144,620 in the 2027-2028 school year, it says. 

That figure would equate to more than double the median household income in Chicago, according to Census Bureau statistics. 

The Chicago Tribune reports that the CPS budget will exceed $9 billion this year, up nearly 30% from $7.4 billion just five years ago. Much of that increase is reflected in teacher salaries, which are among the highest of any big-city teachers in the country.

Last school year, the district spent more than $21,000 per student, far above the national average of $14,347, according to census data. 

Gates’ plan also calls for teachers and counselors to be paid a stipend of $1,000 per student per semester when they are assigned a number of students above contractual limits and a retirement bonus of $2,500 for employees with more than 30 years of service.

“We are asking you to give us an opportunity to tell our story,” Gates said in a speech in March referring to the union’s plans. “It will cost $50 billion and three cents… yes it will, and so what, that’s audacity.”

While the figure might seem far-fetched, the union holds tremendous sway in city politics with deep ties to Mayor Brandon Johnson. 

Johnson is a former CTU legislative coordinator who was put forward by the union to run for mayor. As of June 30, 2023, CTU had funneled more than $2.6 million into Johnson’s campaign while he received more than $6 million from teachers unions altogether, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.

Meanwhile, Davis herself has come under fire for sending her son to a private school after calling school choice racist.

The leaked demands also address “disparities” in health care with a call for 100% coverage benefits for abortion care, 100% coverage benefits for fertility including full coverage for storage of embryos and any other frozen storage needs.

But the union also wants more taxpayers’ funds to go to migrants in its far-reaching plan – earmarking $2,000 to be given to each migrant to help with academics, transportation and mental health counseling.

The union also wants each of the 646 public schools to have a “newcomer liaison” for new students as well as migrant students and unused school facilities to be converted into housing accommodation for migrants.

There is also a whole host of other social justice provisions the union wants, including making sure workers and educators are trained annually on LGBTQ+ issues as a qualification in their job description.

The union also wants to mandate that every school in the district has at least one gender-neutral bathroom.

Additionally, it wants the board to adopt policies that would prohibit any member from being compelled to tell parents when a student rejects his or her sex, according to the documents. 

Mailee Smith, senior director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, has blasted Davis’ demands and said that Mayor Johnson should recuse himself from contract negotiations.

“These demands read more like a political agenda than a serious contract intent on supporting teachers’ wages and benefits, and promoting the education of Chicago students,” Smith said in a statement last month. 

“These demands are far outside the scope of traditional bargaining, putting taxpayer dollars on the line in pursuit of more union power and social activism.”

“We are in the process of calculating the cost of these demands, but we can already tell that funding them will require a sweeping overhaul of finances and new revenues – meaning more and higher taxes for residents. Chicagoans deserve to be represented by a neutral party who is looking out for their finances.”

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