- Ninety-four percent of the Chicago Teachers Union’s (CTU) 25,000 members have voted to go on strike against the Chicago Public Schools, the union announced Thursday night. The count reflects the results of the strike authorization vote, which began Tuesday.
- The members who voted included teachers, clinicians, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel, nurses and librarians. "Strike-ready" training begins Monday, and CTU’s House of Delegates will meet Wednesday to set a strike date, which could be as soon as Oct. 7.
- While the city is offering a 16% raise over five years, the union’s demands include smaller class sizes and more support positions for students — and including those positions in the contract. “Our school communities are desperately short of nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors and other support staff, even as our students struggle with high levels of trauma driven by poverty and neighborhood violence," CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement.
The union’s contract with the city expired almost three months ago. Last month, the union rejected a report from an independent fact finder, which paved the way for the strike vote.
In a response to the union’s vote, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has governance over the school district, said, “We are committed to doing everything we can to finalize a deal that is sustainable for all Chicagoans and for our city’s future, that respects our teachers, and continues our students’ record-breaking success for years to come.”
CTU last went on strike in 2012, about a year after Rahm Emanuel took office as Chicago mayor. That stoppage has been described as inspiration for the more recent wave of strikes and walkouts, which range from teachers in small charter schools to unions as large as United Teachers Los Angeles.