VOICE Newsletter


From the President: The Path to Our Goals

Reporter magazine

In 2008, when teachers from the three CICS-Civitas Schools began meeting with organizers from Chicago ACTS, we were seeking to resolve specific problems at our schools: excessive teaching load, at-will employment, an arbitrary pay scale and teachers quitting in disgust. As we went through the long process of forming our union, and battling Chicago International Charter Schools and the management company, Civitas, over our ability to do so, it started to occur to us that union representation is about more than solving specific workplace problems. We realized that when it comes down to it, there is no compelling reason that all authority over working conditions should lie in the hands of a small group of people in a school community...


altRead more from Chicago ACTS Local 4343 President, Brian Harris 


Meet our PD Trainers


Chicago ACTS’ professional development program continues to grow! We’ve hosted over 16 PD sessions utilizing the American Federation of Teachers’ Strategies for Student Success (SSS) professional development program. Here’s what two Chicago ACTS SSS presenters and Local #4343 members have to say about the PD program:


altRead more about our PD program and trainers

altRegister for our next PD, Rethinking Punishment, today!


Why Unionize?

At a school, the teachers’ working environment is the students’ learning environment. As part of a union, teachers design and negotiate a contract with their school management to improve their school and better fulfill its mission.

Unionized charter school teachers have these provisions in their union contracts:

  • Salary Schedule
  • Standardized Pay
  • Shared Leadership Model
  • Evaluation Systems
  • Guaranteed Benefits
  • Jointly Established Working Conditions

altContact us to learn more about unionizing


Pension Alert

You Deserve a Pension!


The IRS has taken regulatory action that could force states to prohibit public charter school employees from participating in secure defined-benefit plans.

The IRS is currently reviewing charter school teachers' eligibility for participation in public (“governmental”) pension plans. This action could thrust charter school teachers into the unknown territory of a job with either no retirement security or a small private sector plan administered by a school board or management company.
The AFT and Chicago ACTS have always been a champion of the public pension system in general and defined-benefit plans in particular. These plans are secure, funded and transparent. Now, it is time to speak up in their defense.

The IRS is in the midst of a public comment period on governmental pension plans. Let them hear from you!  Urge the IRS today to keep charter school employees in governmental retirement plans. 

altStand up for your pension! Contact the IRS today

altRead more about your pension on ChicagoACTS.org


Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff around the U.S.

First Michigan Charter School Union Makes News Splash

It took six months—and that was just the final stage—but teachers and staff at the Arts Academy in the Woods (AAW) outside Detroit finally took a vote in December and found near unanimity in their hopes for a union. In the beleaguered state of Michigan, the good news rippled out quickly, resulting in perhaps the most abundant media coverage of a charter union vote anywhere in the country.

altRead the full story on AFTacts.org

altRead more from the Huffington Post



VOICE Newsletter
Spring 2012

Upcoming PD Workshops

Free Professional Development opportunities for charter teachers!
Earn up to 4 CPDUs! 

May 19th: Rethinking Punishment

June 16th: Assertive Communication and Conflict Resolution

July 21st: Stress Management and Wellness

Call us at (312) 738-3010

Space Limited
Register Today

More Than Fairness

"A union helps bring fairness, but more importantly, a union provides the transparency needed to negotiate a contract that minimizes distractions and helps teachers stay focused on their classrooms."

- Rebecca Foote, Local 4343 Executive Board Member



LOCAL 4343 News & Notes

 Executive Board Meetings

5/9/2012  5:00pm

7/18/2012  2:00pm

General Membership Meetings and Parties

5/9/2012 6:30pm - Membership Meeting and Spring Fling

Know Your Rights

If you need a copy of your contract, please see your council president or check out your council webpage at www.chicagoacts.org.


Chicago charter school teachers and staff are building a network in which we can share ideas, pool professional resources and speak out on important issues affecting our students, our schools and our profession. Chicago ACTS is committed to ensuring that teachers and staff have a real voice in decision making and are respected as professionals within their schools.

  Connect with us on

 Facebook   alt

Chicago ACTS | 1400 W. Hubbar, Suite 230 | Chicago, IL | 60647

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© American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. © 2011



Back-to-School Edition, Fall 2011

Find out what's been happening with Chicago charter schools this summer.  In this issue of VOICE:


Two More Chicago Charter Schools Secure First Contracts  Teachers and staff at two more Chicago charter schools will start the school year with new collective bargaining contracts, a first for both schools. Teachers and staff believe the collective bargaining process is the best vehicle for educators to provide input on their school’s teaching and learning policies.    READ MORE>

FREE Professional Development – "Beyond Classroom Management"  Back by popular demand, Chicago ACTS is offering this free workshop AGAIN!  On Saturday August 27th, join fellow charter school teachers and earn 3 CPDUs.  Space is limited.    REGISTER TODAY>

Back-to-School Happy Hour – Friday, September 9th.  Bring your colleagues!    READ MORE>   R.S.V.P. HERE>

Local 4343 News & Notes  Chicago's only union for charter teachers and staff has a lot going on.  Be sure to check the upcoming meetings calendar.    READ MORE>


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Watch "Better Together: Charters and Unions"



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