This is from Chalkbeat Chicago:
After a tense standoff that threatened a strike in the nation’s third largest city, Chicago teachers voted in favor of a school reopening deal that allows buildings to reopen their doors as soon as this week.
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union voted in favor of the agreement Wednesday — with 67% voting in favor and 32% voting against. The union said 20,275 of more than 25,000 eligible teachers cast ballots. The vote came after the union’s leadership body overwhelmingly voted in favor of sending the deal to members Monday night.
“This plan is not what any of us deserve. Not us. Not our students. Not their families,” union President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “The (agreement) represents the absolute limit to which CPS was willing to go at the bargaining table.”
For those looking for the details:
Reached after what officials ultimately said was more than 80 meetings, the agreement between Chicago Public Schools and the union promises regular surveillance testing of teachers and sets aside weekly vaccine dosage guarantees for union members. It offers more work-from-home accommodations to educators with high-risk family members and establishes a trifecta of metrics to determine when schools stay open or close should rates spike. It also paves the way for a student-testing protocol for children at 134 schools in neighborhoods with the highest COVID-19 rates.
A side letter allows educators who were locked out of their virtual classrooms in January for refusing to work in-person to resume remote teaching.
In the Chicago SunTimes story on the vote, they note a CTU no-confidence vote against Mayor Lori Lightfoot:
The union’s representative governing body, its 600-member House of Delegates, issued a vote of no confidence in Lightfoot and her schools leaders Monday with 90% approval.
Why did CTU give in? You are not going to like the answer, probably. It's because the CTU was not willing to risk engaging in an illegal strike.
From an earlier SunTimes story:
In the scenario that the full membership rejects the terms, CTU and CPS would head back to the bargaining table and more than likely toward mass lockouts of teachers and a strike. Union vice president Stacy Davis Gates told members in a meeting Sunday that a potential strike “wouldn’t be less than 15 days,” which is how long the 2019 teachers strike stretched on. In the case of a strike, [CTU President Jesse]Sharkey noted that the union could face “legal repercussions.”
“If the strike was declared illegal, people could not make up the pay and the board could levy fines against both individual teachers and the union,” he said during the call.
I would say the CTU caved in this settlement although they stretched out the process for as long as they could to reopen the school buildings, high schools are staying fully remote, and they did get guaranteed vaccines. When it came to risking fines for striking, even the CTU didn't have the stomach for it. Will this have a long lasting impact? Time will tell.