Phillip Cantor explains why the Chicago Teachers Union rejected Rahm Emanuel’s contract offer.

The offer had some good things in it, but what killed it was a “poison pill” provision:

“The CPS offer basically froze compensation for most teachers for four years. I was OK with that… even though CPS has taken about $2 Billion from teachers in the past five years. I like the idea of getting rid of the pension pick-up, but don’t want teachers to suffer 7% pay cuts to achieve it. Some teachers would have come out with a tiny increase over 4 years, other teachers – longer serving teachers- would have had to take a significant pay cut.

“CPS’s offer also included a requirement – added at the last minute – that over 2000 CTU members take early retirement with the provision that if that number didn’t leave the profession the contract would be re-opened. In other words… the whole thing would be scrapped. To me this seems like a poison pill. How could CTU agree to a contract that forced a 10% reduction in teachers and school staff? How could CTU agree to a contract which had a self-destruct clause in it?”

So, layoffs now or layoffs later.

The CTU bargaining team unanimously rejected the deal. And now the CEO is threatening to impose deep cuts and layoffs without a contract.

CTU will hold a mass rally on Thursday afternoon to protest.