Strick asserts Chicago Teachers Union should stop asking more from taxpayers
The Chicago Teachers Union, believing it has little recourse available, has set Oct. 11 as the date it will go on strike if progress is not made on contract negotiations.
Mike Strick, the Republican candidate for the state House seat in District 84, says the union has lost its focus.
“The teacher’s union, far from being for public employees, is really detrimental to every other citizen in the state,” he told the DuPage Policy Journal. “I just feel that they have got a sweetheart deal and just want to keep (burdening) the taxpayers. That’s how I feel.”
The union is asking for wage increases of up to 8.75 percent, “steps and lanes" automatic bumps in pay that are expected to kick in with seniority and experience, better pension pick-up benefits, and better health care coverage.
Chicago Public School teachers are among the highest paid teachers in the nation. Strick asserted the union’s demands have overshadowed the top priority: the students.
“I mean, who would not like a 3 percent raise every year?” Strick asked. “What average citizen would not like their entire health care bill paid for? I would like that. I would like a 3 percent raise every year and so would every other citizen in the state. I would like paid vacation and free health care for the rest of my life. Who wouldn’t want that deal? But you know what? It’s all supposed to be for the kids, right? It’s all supposed to be for the kids but then we [focus] on the money.”
It’s not about the students anymore, Strick asserted. As a man who has placed a high priority on education, Strick emphasized that he is not diminishing the value of great teachers but felt that the union has been oblivious to Illinois’ problems.
“I don’t want to disparage the teachers because they have a difficult job, especially in Chicago,” Strick said. “I just don’t think that, in this time of economic turmoil and loss of jobs, people and manufacturing, they should keep coming back to the citizens of Chicago and keeping asking for more and more.”
Strick also disapproved of some Chicago-area school districts giving tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses to teachers and administrators who are already retired. These post-retirement payouts are at taxpayers’ expenses and are a sort of golden parachute that has not always been transparent or publicized.
“It’s ridiculous,” Strick said. “What businesses do that? What companies do that when somebody retires? I don’t think it is fair at all (to the taxpayers). It’s a shock when I hear these kinds of numbers. We’re at a breaking point. I try to instill that into people’s minds that we are at a breaking point in a lot of these Chicago suburbs. People are being taxed out of their homes. It has to stop. Somebody needs to say that it has to stop.”
Illinois needs strong individuals who see the writing on the wall, Strick insisted.
"Taxes are just going to keep going up and up unless we get some people on the board who are fiscal conservatives,” he said. “We have to invest in programs, classrooms and services that help students get a better education. I’m getting concerned primarily that there is no policy out there that can prevent school districts from just taxing people out of their home. There has got to be a different formula. There has got to be something that the state can do.”
The candidate concluded that he wants change in the way the state is run. No more lies but change.
“We’re being lied to and I just wish that the current (politicians) we have in office would start running Illinois as a business instead of their own personal piggy bank,” Strick said. “We’re just taxed out of our minds.”