• About
  • Press
  • Topics
  • Contact

The CTU has a number of grievances contending that certain schools are not meeting contractual cleanliness standards, and teachers are being forced to do custodial work just to have clean classrooms—even though our contract promises that teachers shall not have to clean.  

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked school Board have refused to arbitrate these grievances, saying that because Aramark is subcontracted to clean those schools, the grievances are about subcontracting. Because subcontracting is a 4.5 subject, the Board claims it does not have to arbitrate grievances about it.

Since the Board refused to arbitrate we had to go to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). We are happy to report that we prevailed in front of the administrative law judge, who ruled:

  1. These grievances are not about subcontracting at all. They are about how clean the schools are, and not about who does the cleaning.
  2. Even if the grievances were about subcontracting, Section 4.5 only allows the Board of Ed to refuse to have contract terms on Section 4.5 subjects. But if the Board voluntarily agrees to contract terms, it must arbitrate grievances about those terms even if they relate to Section 4.5 subjects.

This is a big win, but not the end of the road. The Board can appeal the judge’s decision to an IELRB full of Emanuel and Gov. Rauner appointees, and it probably will. But how willing is the IELRB to overturn the judges decision and keep our schools filthy? 

Please let us know if you or anyone in your school has a story to tell about unclean schools, and if you are willing to testify at a labor board hearing about the matter. If so, please email CTU Staff Coordinator Jackson Potter at