Cook County College Teachers Union Local 1600 Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:23:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Protected: July House Meeting Wed, 05 Jul 2017 17:44:59 +0000

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

It’s been a busy week in Springfield Mon, 03 Jul 2017 14:34:04 +0000

From IFT:

Legislative update 6.29.17

The House of Representatives acted on numerous parts of the Governor’s so-called Turnaround Agenda in hopes of avoiding a third consecutive year without a budget. Republicans continue to demand further concessions in order to be in line with what the governor is seeking.

A flurry of activities continues at the state Capitol as the new fiscal year approaches.


A Budget agreement appears unlikely, as Republican and Democratic leaders continue to meet without resolution. Those talks are said to be constructive. However, a new fiscal year begins July 1, and without a budget and revenue to fund government in place, Illinois is headed for junk-bond status.

At the crux of the standoff is Governor Rauner’s refusal to accept compromises made by legislative leaders on his “Turnaround Agenda” items. These include further changes to workman’s compensation, a property tax freeze for the duration of any temporary income tax increase, and term limits for legislators and state-wide office holders.

House Democrats submitted a spending plan that relies on the increases in the Senate Democrats’ revenue plan to fund state government. Key pieces of the House plan include:

  • Five percent cut to higher education, compared to the GOP 10 percent cut;
  • Full funding for group health insurance programs;
  • Transference of $900M to operating funds from state technology upgrades (Governor Rauner’s pet project); and
  • Full payment towards pensions.

School funding reform
On May 31, the House and Senate passed SB 1 (Manar/Davis) a new K-12 public education funding formula using an evidence-based model for school funding. The new formula is based on 27 research-based best practices and establishes a unique adequacy funding target for each school district. SB 1 also directs new education dollars on a needs-based measure, with dollars going to low wealth districts first. The bill also promises to “hold harmless” districts at the funding they received in FY17.

The Governor has said that even though SB 1 contains 90 percent of the Governor’s desires for school funding reform, he will veto the bill.

Working with the Governor, the Senate Republicans introduced SB 1124 (Barickman). SB 1124 is very similar to SB 1 in terms of how the evidence-based model of school funding would work. However, it makes several changes that will have a substantial impact to CPS pension and block grant funding. In addition, the bill adds mandate relief provisions previously filed by Senator Barickman in SB 1125 that IFT opposed.

The mandate relief and property provisions are as follows:

  • Allow school districts to contract with a commercial driver training school for driver education without having to seek a waiver of the School Code;
  • Allow school districts to determine the schedule and frequency of PE, provided it is offered a minimum of 3 days a week, and allow districts to exclude pupils in grades 9-10 from PE, on a case by case basis, for participation in interscholastic athletics;
    Remove language requiring districts to offer a comparable benefits package to third-party employees if a district enters into a contract with a third party for non-instructional services;
  • Replace the current process that allows districts to opt out of any unfunded mandate by petitioning its ROE with a more localized process that requires a board vote;
  • Add a provision requiring that, for districts whose adequacy target is 110 percent or higher, the question of establishing a lower tax rate for educational purposes shall be submitted to the voters at the regular election for school board members, but only if the voters have submitted a petition signed by at least five percent of voters in the district.

​​The four legislative caucuses continue to discuss education funding reform alternatives to SB 1, including a full discussion in a House Committee of the Whole. Currently, SB 1 has a procedural hold called a motion to reconsider the vote placed on it. Pending any agreements between the leaders, the bill cannot be transmitted to the Governor until that hold is removed. SB 1124 has yet to be heard in Senate Committee.

The House of Representatives approved HB 4045, which provides several changes to Illinois pension systems. Among the changes contained in the legislation is a status quo consideration for individuals in Tier 1 and a Tier 3 hybrid plan for new hires and current Tier 2 members. Provisions of the legislation include:
Status quo option for Tier 1 members

  • Tier 1 members can elect to make no changes to their current benefit;
  • OR Tier 1 members can elect to take a reduced cost of living adjustment in retirement of 3% or half of CPI, whichever is lower, in exchange for a 10% reduction in their future contribution rate and receive a 10% refund of current contributions.

Creation of a Tier 3 hybrid plan for new hires and current Tier 2 members

  • New hires and Tier 2 members have the option of participating in Tier 3.
  • The benefit provides for 1.25% of salary for each year of service.
  • Members of Tier 3 will have access to a defined contribution plan with a required employee contribution of 4% and a required employer contribution of at least 2%.

Funding changes for Tier 3 employers

  • Beginning in FY19, employers will be responsible for the normal cost of defined benefit portion of all Tier 3 members, however this cost will be temporarily subsidized by the state until FY21.
  • The amount of payroll for the employers will equal at least 2% beginning in FY21.

Buy-out for inactive members

  • Governing pension board must approve the offering of the buy-out.
  • The accelerated payment will be equal to 70% of the present value of benefits.
  • Accepting the buy-out will result in the forfeiture of any right to receive a pension benefit under that system.

Voluntary defined contribution plan

  • On a first come, first served basis, up to 5% of a system’s Tier 1 members are eligible to participate in the plan.
  • After a specified date, participants would freeze their current defined benefit and have all future service in the defined contribution plan.
  • Member contributions to the new plan will equal that of the defined benefit contributions with the state contributions will be at least 3%.
  • The legislation now moves to the Illinois Senate for further consideration.

Property tax freeze
In an effort to find compromise the Illinois House debated SB 484, a measure that would freeze property taxes for four years. SB 484 includes exemptions for school districts that ISBE deems in financial hardship or on the financial watch list. The bill also contains increased exemptions for veterans and seniors. It does NOT include Chicago Public schools. The measure failed.

The IFT has always opposed a property tax freeze because it would stunt the most stable portion of a school district’s finances. The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability projects that even a two-year property tax freeze would cost Illinois schools up to $830M to K-12 education.

A look ahead
The Governor has signaled his intent to require the legislature meet in special session until a budget agreement is reached.

CCCTU Summer Social & Scholarship Winners *UPDATE* Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:02:46 +0000

On Friday, June 23rd, Local 1600 held its annual summer event and Norman G. Swenson Scholarship Ceremony. The event took place at the new CTU building and included a raffle, dancing, and an outstanding DJ. For many of us, this is a great time to pause and reflect on the year with friends, allies, family, and union brothers and sisters. Check out some photos from the event here.

Below are the recipients of the Norman G. Swenson Scholarhip:

Daley: Lashaunta Moore
Kennedy-King: Christopher (Chad) Wichmann
Malcolm X: Alejandra Sanchez
Olive-Harvey: Nathaniel Nelson
Truman: Shadrach Welbeck
Harold Washington: Zachary Cohen
Wright: Andrew Dobria
Harper: Suzanne Simons
Moraine Valley: Ibtisan Kesbeh
S. Suburban: Julie A. Hiskes
Triton: Andrea Senyk
Morton: Eugenia Ortiz
Oakton: John Yenter-Briars
Prairie State: Elizabeth Rodriguez

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Norman G. Swenson Scholarship!

Cook County College Teachers Union


June 23         5-10 PM | $20

Join us for food, friendship & solidarity!

*Kids Welcome

*Music & Dancing

5pm: Appetizers & Cash Bar

6pm: Buffet Dinner Catered by Smoque BBQ

7:30pm: Scholarship & Union Leadership Awards

Location: CTU Building

   1901 W Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL 60612

Free parking is available in the CTU lot & on the street.

Deadline to purchase tickets is Friday, June 9th

Please mail a check made out to CCCTU to the union office:

Cook County College Teachers Union

208 W. Kinzie Street

Chicago, IL 60654


Norman G. Swenson Scholarship Winners Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:51:20 +0000

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Norman G. Swenson Scholarship!

Daley: Lashaunta Moore
Kennedy-King: Christopher (Chad) Wichmann
Malcolm X: Alejandra Sanchez
Olive-Harvey: Nathaniel Nelson
Truman: Shadrach Welbeck
Harold Washington: Zachary Cohen
Wright: Andrew Dobria
Harper: Suzanne Simons
Moraine Valley: Ibtisan Kesbeh
S. Suburban: Julie A. Hiskes
Triton: Andrea Senyk
Morton: Eugenia Ortiz
Oakton: John Yenter-Briars
Prairie State: Elizabeth Rodriguez

Students will receive notification by mail. We hope you will be able to attend the Summer Social on June 23rd to honor the scholarship winners.

Union Leaders Prepare for Challenges Ahead Thu, 08 Jun 2017 16:18:49 +0000

On a Saturday in March, leaders from each chapter of Local 1600 gathered to share ideas, learn from best practices, and brainstorm about new ways to improve working conditions at our colleges. Many of the leaders had only just been elected and hadn’t yet taken office, but they were already focused on the task at hand – strengthening our power to organize for the future. The day proved very productive and leaders left energized for the challenges ahead. To learn more about your newly elected leaders or find contact information, please visit

Fight Back through Your CCCTU’s COPE Deduction Thu, 08 Jun 2017 16:17:05 +0000

Retiree Chapter Chair, Don Radtke

Who could have imagined seeing and hearing our U. S. President and gleeful Representatives congratulating, back slapping, and high fiving themselves on legislation designed to take away health coverage for 24 million citizens. Who would have thought this “wonderful” health coverage plan would fund the “largest in history” tax cut for billionaires and their corporations. Have you seen and heard enough? Our response can be made through our Union membership and Local 1600’s Committee on Political Education Fund (COPE).

Over the decades, the Union Movement has been guided in its legislative actions through viewing our fellow citizens as “brothers and sisters.” Unions have been at the forefront in legislation giving citizens Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act, Worker Rights, and Civil Rights. Local 1600 and our Chapter fought for legislation to improve and protect your retirement benefits. Currently, Unions are defending our past gains and working to expand and improve programs for the common good. Your Retiree Chapter membership gives you opportunities to support and help Local 1600, Illinois Federation of Labor, and American Federation of Labor. If you sign up for a COPE deduction, we can do more.

Our Illinois Governor and Legislature Elections seem far away but the commercials are already running. Our billionaire governor has put in $50 million for his re-election and the promotion of his anti -labor legislation. Governor Rauner ignores budget compromises resulting in harm to State Colleges, Students, Employees, and Seniors. It is also important to note that our next governor would be in office if a State Constitutional Convention were to be convened in 2020. The Illinois Constitution contains the “diminished or impair” clause which protects our pension benefits. Do we want to see back slapping and high fiving from changes to the State Constitution or legislation reducing our retirement benefits?

In the month of May, you received an authorization form to sign up for a COPE deduction from your monthly SURS pension. This new deduction allows retirees to participate in COPE. COPE will facilitate and fund our Union’s election efforts.

We are very appreciative of those signing up so far. Do not forgot! Please send in your COPE signup form today. Call the union office at 312-755-9400 if you need another form.

Make our governmental laws and programs serve our fellow citizens as our “Brothers and Sisters”

PS Hope to see you at the CCCTU Summer Social on June 23rd. If you want to sit with the Retirees, please contact me at or 773-238-3299.

AFT’s PSRP Conference – Fighting Forward Thu, 08 Jun 2017 16:11:44 +0000

By Rose Sakanis, CCCTU Classified VP

On April 28-30th four of our newest Classified division union leaders accompanied me to this year’s AFT conference for Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) which was held in Detroit. They were: Sarah Henderson (Prairie State), Erica Humphrey (South Suburban), Lilliana Raygoza (Morton), Norma Vasquez-Zwick (Moraine Valley). And I am pleased to say that this year’s conference was a huge success!

Local 1600 has been sending union leaders to the AFT PSRP conference for many years, but this year’s conference really hit the mark addressing key issues that we as union leaders may need to face in the near future. I was very impressed by the number of workshops that were available for our higher ed paraprofessionals to attend.

To start the conference off on a roaring note the first workshop on Friday focused on “Organizing a Rally.” The participants were broken down into groups; one group wrote chants, another wrote speeches, another made signs, and a fourth organized the logistics. And then it happened, an actual rally was conducted. I arrived late on Friday afternoon, but did make it in time to attend the rally with Lilliana and Erica.

The workshops that were offered were of a high caliber. They included topics such as; Community College Unionism in a Right-to-Work Environment, Building a Union Culture, Federal Legislative Updates, E-dues, Ergonomics, Leading to Organize, Workplace Bullying, and Building to Win in 2018.

Keynote speakers for the conference included Ruby Newbold from Detroit, who is the AFT PSRP Division Leader and Randi Weingarten, President of the AFT. Both speakers addressed the threat of national right-to-work that is looming over us and how to keep our members organized during the rough road ahead. Remember right-to-work is a deceiving term that actually means right-to-work for less. Randi also spoke to us about the devastating effects that the presidential election can have on us as well as the appointment of Betsey DeVos as Secretary of Education.

The best part of the conference took place amongst our group. Attending these conferences brings our own union leaders together. This is always the part that I enjoy and one of the many reasons why I advocate to send our leaders to these conferences. This new group of union leaders had the opportunity to get to know each other and to discuss some of the issues that they are facing at their own colleges each day. They had the opportunity to share tips on how to resolve issues and how to get their members organized and united. And, most importantly, they were able to build relationships with each other so they could interact with each other at future union events. They are all anxious to share what they have learned with others in our Local. For the Classified/Support Staff leaders who attended this year’s conference it was a winning trip not only for them, but for our members, and for our Local.

May Day March on Chicago Thu, 08 Jun 2017 16:07:28 +0000

Members of Local 1600, President Tony Johnston, and Legislative Chair Sean Noonan joined thousands of Chicago activists for a May Day rally and March on May 1st. This year’s march focused on immigration issues and stopping the Trump agenda. Many of our students are undocumented immigrants, and they deserve to learn in a safe environment, free of fear. We call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and our college administrators to protect those who may be targeted by the Trump administration, and defend access to education.

Hundreds Head to Springfield to Demand Rauner Fund Higher Ed Thu, 08 Jun 2017 16:05:08 +0000

Legislative Chair, Sean Noonan

Hundreds of faculty, staff and students from across Illinois rallied in Springfield on April 27 to demand Governor Rauner fund higher education. Students aren’t receive Map grants, colleges are closing programs, laying off faculty and staff due to Rauner’s efforts to starve our colleges and universities. Rally attendees sent a clear message to Rauner and his supporters that the time is now to fund education.
Under the leadership of Gov. Rauner, Illinois has been without a state budget for two years, with Rauner opposing even temporary stop gap measures that might help higher education. In the past two year, state funding for Illinois community colleges has been cut by a staggering 73%, and 160,000 Illinois students who qualify for higher education MAP grants have been denied funding.

The rally on April 27 began early, as demonstrators performed a Teach-Out on the first floor rotunda of the State Capitol building, forming groups and sharing experiences with one another. Local 1600 members shared how community colleges have felt the strain as enrollment has dropped, staff have been reduced, positions are going unfilled, and colleges such as Prairie State and South Suburban have shuttered their child care programs. Our Union brothers and sisters from Eastern Illinois University talked about their 413 cut staff positions, and faculty from NEIU talked about mandatory furlough days and their 18% pay cut. One thing was made abundantly clear: the budget impasse is destroying higher education.

After the Teach-Out, the demonstration moved outside in front of the State Capitol building. A crowd formed around the Lincoln statue as speakers called out the Governor for his continued assault on higher education. Speakers included Democratic candidates for governor Daniel Biss and J.B. Pritzker, State Representative Chris Welch, Illinois Federation of Teachers Dan Montgomery, and staff and students from colleges and universities across Illinois.

Although the rally on April 27 was a strong show of force from the colleges, universities, and unions across Illinois, there is much more to be done. We must continue to organize and push back against Rauner’s anti-education agenda and inaction on the state budget. Moreover, with Illinois Democrats in a deadlock with Gov. Rauner over the budget, and neither side showing signs of relenting, it may be that this crisis won’t be resolved until a new Governor is elected to office. Hope for higher education may well reside in efforts to elect a pro-education, pro-union governor in November of 2018. Be on the lookout for more opportunities to join us as we fight for the future of higher education.

KKC’s Union Book Scholarship Committee Awards Wed, 07 Jun 2017 19:32:34 +0000

On April 28, Kennedy-King College’s (KKC) Union Book Scholarship Committee awarded nearly $2000 in scholarship money to winners of its annual essay-writing competition.

The ceremony, held in the College’s Great Hall, featured an inspiring keynote address by former KKC President Clyde El-Amin, solo voice performances by 16-year-old student Tiana Covington – who floored attendees by signing songs made famous by Adele and Etta James – serious swing by Professor (Emeritus) Dr. Curtis Prince’s trio, and a special tribute to the late Professor Joseph Kyle, who taught at KKC for more than three decades.

Pictured here, left to right, are Chairman Corey Hall, and the winners: Michelle Fulton, Romello Bonds, Jazmen Green, Christopher Young, Marcquerie Christy, Paschon Pruitt, and Jasmine Williams.

Winners included: Michelle Fulton, Romello Bonds, Jazmen Green, Christopher Young, Marcquerie Christy, Paschon Pruitt, and Jasmine Williams. All winners also received copies of Death of a Nation, Professor Kyle’s biography.