Who’s who on negotiating teams

Print More

While the leaders of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) are new, their bargaining teams include some old negotiating hands. Here is a rundown.

CPS team

James Franczek, who heads up a law firm dedicated to labor, employment and education law, is lead negotiator for CPS. He represented CPS in contract talks in 1985, 1995 and 1999, and currently represents the City of Chicago in its negotiations with police officers and firefighters. A law partner, Charles Rose, also is on the CPS team.

Others on the CPS team are:

Chief of Staff Peggy Davis, who negotiated labor contracts in her nine years as general counsel for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the body that runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

Ascención Juarez, a longtime CPS administrator who served on the district’s negotiating team in the 1987 contract talks.

Chief Attorney Marilyn Johnson, who also negotiated with unions as chief attorney for the Chicago Housing Authority before joining CPS. In the early 1980s, she was president of the union representing employees of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, where she was a staff attorney.

John Frantz, chief labor relations officer, who has worked in the district’s central office for seven years, after 10 years each as a teacher and a principal.

John Maiorca, budget director, who worked in the City of Chicago’s budget office from 1981 to 1989 and the city’s revenue department in the early and mid-1990s, before joining CPS in 1997.

Cheryl Nevins, director of labor relations, who came to the board in 1997.

Georgette Hampton, director of risk and benefits management, who has worked for the district since 1997 and in the benefits field for 22 years.

Rochelle Gordon, an attorney in the board’s law department, who has supervised litigation over contract grievances since 1997.

CTU team

Bob Peickert, the CTU’s director of administration and labor relations, and Kathrin Koenig, the union’s general counsel, bring the most experience to the table. Peickert, who worked for the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) for 22 years, has negotiated over 80 collective bargaining agreements and has served as a trainer in negotiating techniques for both the IFT and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). As a lawyer in private practice for more than 20 years, Koenig specialized in school, employment and civil rights law. She spent a year working for the IFT, where she served as a contract negotiator.

Others on the CTU team are:

CTU President Deborah Lynch, who worked on educational issues for the AFT in the 1980s, and was the founding director of the CTU’s Quest Center in the early 1990s.

Victor Gonzalez, director of field services, who served as a field representative from 1987 to 2001.

Howard Heath, CTU vice president. He taught at Lane Tech High School for 28 years, served as a union delegate for 12 and was first elected to citywide union office in 1998.

Jacquelyn Price Ward, recording secretary. She taught for 12 years in CPS, served as a union delegate for eight years and worked as a trainer for the Quest Center.

James Alexander, financial secretary. He taught in CPS for 40 years before being elected two years ago.

Maureen Callaghan, treasurer. In the late 1990s, while working as a school clerk, she organized clerks, who successfully lobbied for a significant raise, which became part of the 1999 contract.