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Top Labor Negotiator Jim Franczek Interviewed by Chalkbeat Chicago

Education Labor & Employment

A recent profile of Franczek P.C. founding partner and President Jim Franczek highlights lessons learned during his 25 years as the chief labor negotiator for the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools. The article provides insights from Jim on key issues including teacher pay, what the media misses, and the real relationships at the bargaining table.

The article recognizes Jim’s inimitable role in labor bargaining in Chicago: “He’s worked with some of the biggest names in Chicago politics, including former mayors Harold Washington, Richard M. Daley, and Rahm Emanuel, as well as with Illinois house chief Michael Madigan. He also helped draft two key pieces of legislation that changed power and collective bargaining in Chicago: the 1995 law that instituted mayoral control of Chicago Public Schools and another law that limited what unions could bargain over, and raised the vote threshold required to authorize a strike.” He has “been involved, in one way or the other, in virtually every piece of labor legislation that’s come out of the General Assembly.”

Of the eight CTU contracts that he has negotiated, the most recent CPS team was, “without question, the best . . . It was intelligent people who cared. It was people who were invested in the process.”

The CPS team was led by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, who Jim describes as “extremely intelligent, committed, and an extraordinary leader.”

The article was published by Chalkbeat, which is an independent nonprofit news organization focusing exclusively on education reporting.