Chicago Teachers Union demands $50B to cover pay hikes, free abortions, embryo storage


The Chicago Teachers Union is demanding $50 billion in its contract negotiations to pay for wage increases, abortions, migrant services and "gender-neutral bathrooms" for every school district, according to leaked documents.

While the union's demands have not been made public, a leaked document shows that CTU asked for a minimum 9% wage increase yearly through fiscal year 2028. The union also demanded full coverage of abortions for public school employees in addition to fertility benefits to cover the cost of storing frozen embryos. 

Earlier this year, local news outlet WLS reported that Chicago teachers requested additional resources after 5,000 migrant students enrolled in the district, including more bilingual teachers and full tuition coverage for teachers to obtain a bilingual certificate. 

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Among CTU's leaked set of demands, the union called for earmarking $2,000 for each migrant student to help with their academics and cover the cost of transportation and mental health counseling.

In addition, CTU demanded all 646 schools within the district have a "newcomer liaison" for new and migrant students. The teachers' union also wants to convert unused school facilities into shelters for homeless migrants. 

The list of demands also included a series of LGBT-related provisions, with CTU calling for every school in the district to have at least one "gender-neutral restroom" and annual LGBT training for educators.

The union also expressed opposition to policies requiring CTU union members from having to inform parents if their child is having trouble identifying with their sex. CTU's demand comes as parents at school districts throughout the country have driven attention to the issue through lawsuits

The Chicago Teachers Union did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment. 

According to a March editorial in The Chicago Tribune, the CPS budget is already up 30% from $7.4 billion just five years ago, and the budget will exceed $9 billion this year. The increase is reportedly due to teacher salaries, which are some of the highest compared to educators teaching in districts within other large cities. 

The union's president, Stacy Davis Gates, defended the demands, stating, "We are asking you to give us an opportunity to tell our story." Gates added that CTU's proposal would cost $50 billion and three cents but seemed to push back when pressed on where the money for the extra funding would come from. "And so what, that's audacity," the newspaper quoted her as saying. "That's Chicago."

The Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative nonprofit think tank, reported in March that the average salary of a CPS teacher is $93,182. The think tank's Director of Fiscal and Economic Research, Bryce Hill, noted in his report that if the union is successful in negotiating a pay increase, that would "boost the average teacher's pay by half to $144,620 in the 2027-2028 school year."

"Teacher pay rose more than $43,000 since 2012 — nearly triple the private-sector salary increase," Hill wrote. 

In April, Mailee Smith, senior director of labor policy and a staff attorney for the Illinois Policy Institute, highlighted CTU's demands for two more days off, which Smith noted seems "reasonable."

"Except CTU's contract already provides extraordinary opportunities for time off and leave from work," Smith wrote. "Currently, teachers can take at least 43 days off during the year and can apply for at least 15 different types of paid or unpaid leave. But that's not enough for CTU."

Smith noted that the union wants an annual "personal medical release day" that members can use for wellness appointments in addition to the 12 sick days and three personal days already in their contract. 

According to the Nation's Report Card, only 20% of fourth-grade students in Chicago performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level in mathematics in 2022, and only 22% performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level in reading. Regarding eighth-graders in Chicago, only 16% performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level in mathematics, and 21% performed at the same level for reading.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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