Classes for the new academic year began in Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday as members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) threatened to strike. That threat intensified on Wednesday.
“The union announced late Wednesday that its House of Delegates agreed to set dates for a strike authorization vote later this month,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“The decision means union members will vote Sept. 24 to 26 on whether to walk off the job. If at least 75% vote in favor, they could go on strike as soon as Oct. 7,” the Tribune noted.
Though teachers showed up for the first day of classes on Tuesday, how long they will continue to show up remains an open question, as negotiations over pay continued with the new administration of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as NBC reported.
“Hundreds of thousands of children return to schools across the city, despite the fact that Chicago teachers don’t have a contract in place – and a possible strike is looming,” the local NBC affiliate reported on Tuesday:
CTU leaders held a news conference outside of Benito Juarez Community Academy in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood early Tuesday, reiterating that teachers could strike as early as next month.
“As you return to school, your teachers are happy to see you, but we’re also concerned for the future; we’re concerned to make sure that public schools in Chicago continue to be great schools and that we secure a contract which guarantees that and puts that in writing,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said.
“While CPS is raking in more than $1 billion in new annual dollars this year, too many students returned to classrooms on Tuesday staffed by substitute teachers, while others returned to over-sized classes. CPS remains far short in hiring social workers, even for its anemic target,” the CTU said in the statement released on its website late Wednesday:
“Our members can’t be bought – they are clear that their schools need the same things that students across Howard Street, Austin Boulevard and Cicero Avenue have,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. “Our delegates voted unanimously today to send a clear signal to CPS and the Mayor that what’s been offered to date isn’t good enough.”
“Contrary to the mayor’s statement yesterday, our concerns are not rhetoric,” said Sharkey. “Our concerns – and our bargaining demands – are a civil rights issue built on our commitment to help transform the lives of students that depend on public education. Our students live in a city where it’s easier for them to get a gun than to get access to a social worker. That’s wrong. Our mayor and her administration at CPS can solve these issues. We’re fighting for the schools our students deserve – and our demands for the last decade are designed to truly transform our school communities. The funding is there – more than a billion dollars a year in new revenue – and we’ve documented extensively why CPS can afford our reasonable demands.”
Negotiations on a new contract between CPS and the CTU have dragged for months – and continue to show little progress on what our students deserve: adequate staffing, smaller class sizes that provide real equity, and educational justice for students and their families.
As Breitbart News reported last month:
A four member delegation from the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), all active supporters of the #RedforEd movement, traveled to Venezuela earlier this month to provide support for the socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro.
The delegation consisted of Richard Berg, a former Teamsters Union official who currently works for the CTU, and “rank and file” CTU strike captains Sarah Chambers, Fabiana Mariel, and V Voeta Vargas, according to press reports.
In February, Breitbart News was the first national media outlet to report on the growing partisan political activism of the union backed #RedforEd movement.