Brandon Johnson just gave paid parental leave to teachers but not police officers

Election 2023 Chicago Mayor
Chicago mayoral candidate Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. (Paul Beaty/AP)

Brandon Johnson just gave paid parental leave to teachers but not police officers

Video Embed

New Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson talks as if he is working for all Chicagoans, but his actions tell a different story.

Earlier this month, Johnson announced that he had made an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union that would give Chicago Public Schools’ teachers “the same 12 weeks of paid parental leave already provided to all 32,000 city employees.” He made this move unilaterally and without negotiation, which was a departure from the approach taken by his predecessor who said she supported extending parental leave, but only through negotiation.


Johnson said, “This is not a gift to the CTU. This is a policy for the people of Chicago.”

But this raises the question: Why was Mayor Johnson so eager to give parental leave to the teachers union, yet has given no indication he is planning or even willing to do the same for Chicago police?

The police union now has the same question, which is why, according to the Illinois Policy Institute, it is “urging Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to provide Chicago police officers with the same parental leave benefits given to the Chicago Teachers Union without negotiating for it.”

If parental leave given to teachers is a “gift” for the people of Chicago, certainly parental leave for police officers is as well. Both are invaluable to the thriving of a city — yet Johnson clearly seems to prioritize one over the other. This suggests he did not pursue this policy because he is working for “the people of Chicago,” but rather for other reasons.

Taking a look at his attitudes toward the two groups hammers this point home.

Johnson was an employee at the Chicago Teachers Union earlier in his career, helped organize a major teachers’ strike in 2012, and received an endorsement from the group during his mayoral campaign. As such, it is no surprise he has made appeasing his former employer and campaign supporter a priority this early in his tenure.

On the other hand, he has supported defunding the police in the past, has not prioritized real action on public safety — even as crime spiked 38% during his first month in office relative to the same time last year — and refused to condemn a recent “teen takeover” of the Millennium Park area earlier this year that featured “fighting in the streets, jumping on the roof of a bus, breaking into vehicles and setting them on fire.” Johnson responded, saying, “It is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”


Got it. Chicago now has a mayor that is more beholden to teachers unions than his Democratic predecessor and is uniquely hostile toward public order and law enforcement.

There is no reason to believe the situation in Chicago is not going to get a lot worse before it starts to get better.

Jack Elbaum is a summer 2023 Washington Examiner fellow.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles