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The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) was slammed for its “radical” demands after it was revealed it is seeking an extra $50 billion in contract negotiations to pay for salary increases, migrant resources, fully-funded abortions and LGBTQ-related materials in the classroom. 

Illinois Policy Institute Director Mailee Smith reacted to the requests during “Fox & Friends,” accusing the CTU of acting on behalf of its members’ interests instead of students.


“This is just par for the course for them. They are not pushing things that are best for students,” Smith said on Monday. “They are pushing things that are best for their leaders’ political agenda. Other things that we see are climate justice demands, social justice demands, $2,000 per student for asylum seekers, they want housing for new teachers.”

“None of this is typical for collective bargaining,” she continued. “These are an agenda of the leaders that have nothing to do with the students.”

The union’s demands have not been made public but a leaked document sheds light on the eye-popping agenda, including Union President Stacy Davis Gates’ audacious call for yearly 9% wage increases for members 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.

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

“CTU’s leadership has a long history of progressive activism,” Smith said. “It focuses on power and politics over what’s best for teachers and students, and… in 2022, it handpicked and bankrolled Mayor Brandon Johnson into office, one of their own, one of their own employees, and so this was kind of to be expected.”


“Now it’s taking this opportunity of having one of its own across the bargaining table to advance its most radical agenda yet,” she continued. “We’ve already seen the results of CTU’s activism. Math and reading scores are plummeting. Just one in four students can read at grade level within Chicago Public Schools. It’s even worse in math. It’s even worse for low-income students. Chronic absenteeism is rising. Enrollment is dropping as people are leaving CPS, and this has all been while a radical slate of CTU leaders have been at the helm.”

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

The union also wants more taxpayer 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 additionally 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 for migrants.

Other social justice provisions in the plan include 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.

“They do not want teacher evaluations and performance at all linked to teacher pay or benefits, what’s going on in the schools,” Smith said. “In fact, in these contract demands, they are trying to water down evaluation criteria for teachers, making sure that they’re evaluated less and that it really means less.”

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is a former CTU legislative coordinator who was put forward by the union to run for office. 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.

Smith said it is essential moving forward that there is “impartial bargaining” between the city and the teachers’ union. She urged Johnson to step aside to make that happen. 

“We need to make sure that there is impartial bargaining,” Smith said. “Setting aside what the demands are or what should be in a collective bargaining agreement, Mayor Johnson is not a partial negotiator. What we have in him is collusion with the union, not negotiation. We need him to recuse himself so that there is someone at the bargaining table who is actually representing teachers and parents and the taxpayers within the city.”

Fox News’ Michael Dorgan contributed to this report. 

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