Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: Teachers Union ‘Cannot Simply Take Yes for an Answer’

Lori Lightfoot addresses guests after being sworn in as Mayor of Chicago during a ceremony at the Wintrust Arena on May 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Lightfoot become the first black female and openly gay Mayor in the city’s history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Sunday the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) “cannot simply take yes for an answer” as their strike moved into its eighth day with no end in sight.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported:

Chicago Public Schools announced Sunday that classes and after-school activities will be canceled again Monday after a frustrated Mayor Lori Lightfoot and district officials said negotiations with striking teachers remained stalled.

CPS CEO Janice Jackson joined Lightfoot in a rare Sunday night news conference in which the mayor blasted the Chicago Teachers Union over the impasse in contract talks.

“We are enormously disappointed that CTU cannot simply take yes for an answer,” Lightfoot said.

“As of today, we’ve put everything we could — responsibly — on the table in an attempt to get a deal done, but we have no deal to announce today,” Lightfoot said. “For that, I am terribly disappointed.”

“CPS said as of 4 p.m., the Chicago Teachers Union said there was no possibility of a deal before the end of the day on Sunday. As a result, CPS said, it will not be possible to hold classes Monday,” CBS Chicago reported late Sunday.

As a result the 361,000 K-12 students who attend public schools in Chicago will miss their eighth consecutive day of classes, disrupting the lives of parents and students alike. Twenty-five thousand teachers, members of the American Federation of Teachers’ affiliated CTU, as well as an estimated 8,000 support staff, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) remain at strike.

The current strike is now the longest teachers strike in the city since 1987.

A gap of millions of dollars separates negotiators from the CTU and the CPS. The CTU says the gap is $38 million, while the CPS claims it is $100 million, the SunTimes reported on Sunday.

The CTU has mounted an aggressive public communications campaign to attack Mayor Lightfoot’s negotiation stance, especially on Twitter:

 

The strike has drawn attention and support from all the major Democrat candidates for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined the picket lines in West Chicago, declaring “the unions are how we have power.”
Lost in the political power struggle between the teachers union and the city is the fact the academic performance of K-12 students who attend Chicago Public Schools has been well below national averages for decades, and shows little sign of improvement.

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