Director of Labor Policy
After Chicago Public Schools officials gave notice that the district would be closing 54 schools and a total of 61 buildings, Chicago Teachers Union leaders were quick to decry the move, citing concern for students and fear of ruining neighborhoods.
But theres another explanation why the CTU has reacted so vocally to school closures; the union has a financial stake in keeping school buildings open. Per-teacher union dues for Chicago teachers cost approximately $1,000 annually. According to the organizations 2010 tax return, CTU took in $25.8 million in membership dues that year.
CTU dues are big money, and the consolidation of CPS will take a bite out of that revenue. The closure of 54 schools will result in about 1,000 teachers looking for new jobs. The teachers who work at schools slated for closure will have the opportunity to apply for other positions and are not necessarily the ones in the greatest danger of remaining out of work. But it is unlikely that there will be enough teaching slots available for all of the current CPS teaching staff.
If only half of those 1,000 teachers actually lose their jobs, CTU still loses $500,000 in union dues. That would go a long way toward explaining why CTU is so determined to prevent CPS from closing down school buildings.