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Solidarity statements from allies and supporters.

Parents 4 Teachers

Parents 4 Teachers stands in solidarity with our teachers and school staff as they embark on a possible strike. The teachers are fighting for things that will improve their working conditions and the learning conditions of children. Like teachers, most parents want a better, richer education for their children in fully staffed schools with educators who are fairly compensated and respected for their work.

But let’s be clear. While no one wants a strike, parents will support their teachers if that’s what it takes to obtain a fair contract that works in the best interest of our educators and our children.

And that’s the bottom line. Parents know the needs of our teachers and the needs of our children go hand in hand. When teachers feel respected, supported, valued, and have proper resources, they and their students can flourish. The CPS board’s contract offer and negotiating strategy—led by the same people Rahm Emanuel used to push teachers to their first strike in 25 years—is woefully lacking. No wonder it’s been resoundingly rejected by educators.

The mayor suggests she has made a very generous offer to teachers, but she has refused to address most of their non-salary demands for a nurse, librarian and case manager in EVERY school; more social workers and counselors; smaller class sizes; and sanctuary protections for students and families. During and since the campaign, the mayor has promised to address critical school staffing needs, but she refuses to put those promises into a legally-binding contract with educators.

The mayor promised Chicago a new day. But, so far, we’ve seen a lot of business as usual: empty political promises, broken campaign pledges and more budget cuts for our neediest schools.

As he left office, Rahm Emanuel said his fight with teachers was his biggest mistake. Mayor Lightfoot would do well to learn from that mistake. Chicagoans stood with their teachers in 2012 because they were fighting for the things our schools need and deserve. Educators are fighting for those same things today and Chicago will stand with them again in 2019.

P4T  Website
Chicago Teachers and Staff Solidarity Campaign

Chicago Teachers and Staff Solidarity Campaign Solidarity Petition


We are close to 500 signatures on our solidarity statement (initiated by the Chicago Teachers and Staff Solidarity Campaign about 2 weeks ago). Many of the signatories led the #RedForEd strikes, walkouts in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, Portland, etc. since 2018. Many non-educator union members have signed on since the CTU and SEIU Local 73 said they would strike October 17. This shows we know teachers have been key to revitalizing the labor movement and your fight is all of our fight! So please continue to sign & share! This statement will be linked to a new solidarity page on the CTU website soon.

Signatories (list growing, petition text below list)

  • Nicole McCormick, West Virginia United Caucus*
  • Jenny Craig, West Virginia United Caucus*
  • Jay O’Neal, West Virginia United Caucus*
  • Emily Comer, West Virginia United Caucus*
  • Brendan Muckian-Bates, Steering Committee, WV United Caucus*
  • Stephanie Price, Speech-Language Pathologist, Oklahoma Education Association*
  • Rebecca Garelli, Arizona Educators United*
  • Dylan Wegela, Arizona Educators United*
  • Jay Barbuto, Arizona Educators United*
  • Mandy Manning, Teacher, English Language, 2018 National Teacher of the Year
  • Gillian Russom, Teacher, Roosevelt High School, United Teachers Los Angeles Board of Directors*
  • Carlos Valdez, History Teacher, Aurora Education Association*
  • Cole Margen, Social Studies Teacher at Oakland High School, Oakland Education Association*
  • Stephen Siegel, Special Education Teacher, Oregon Public Employees United*, Reynolds Education Association*
  • Phil Sorensen, National Association of Teachers, Badass Teachers Caucus Chair, DCPEA (Nevada), Immediate Past President*
  • Ronnie Almonte, Science Teacher, United Federation of Teachers, Movement of Rank and File Educators*
  • Hannah Fleury, Occupational Therapist, United Federation of Teachers, Movement of Rank and File Educators, OTs and PTs for a Fair Contract*
  • Kit Warner, United Federation of Teachers, NYC (retired)*
  • Ryan Bruckenthal, United Federation of Teachers*
  • Peter Allen-Lamphere, Chapter Leader, Gregorio Luperon HS, NYC, Movement of Rank and File Educators, UFT / AFT Local 2*
  • Melissa Tomlinson, NJ21UNITED, Badass Teachers, Executive Director*
  • Angela Harris, 1st grade teacher, chair Black Educators Caucus,  Milwaukee Education Association*
  • Jesse Hagopian, Ethnic Studies teacher, Editor, Rethinking Schools*, Social Equity Educators, Seattle Education Association*
  • Lauren Ware Stark, Social Equity Educators, Seattle Education Association*
  • Brian Black, Social Equity Educators, Seattle Education Association*
  • Darrin Hoop, Social Equity Educators, Seattle Education Association*
  • Jeffrey Barrois, Jefferson Federation of Teachers Local #1559*
  • Josh Austin, Teacher, Berkeley High School, Berkeley Federation of Teachers, California Educators United*
  • April Burke, Associate Professor, Michigan Education Association*
  • Hector Agredano, Pasadena City College, Faculty Association*
  • Martese Chism, nurse representative, National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United, Illinois for All*
  • John D. Williams, steelworker, United Steelworkers of America, Local 6787*
  • Diana Vallera, faculty, CFAC, Columbia Faculty Union, president, Local 6602, IFT-AFT*
  • Marsha Niemeijer, NYC DSA Labor Branch*
  • Barry Eidlin, Assistant Professor of Sociology, McGill University*
  • John Kaderbek, Teamsters 743*
  • Melissa Rakestraw, steward, executive board, National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 825*
  • Bill Schorsch, National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 825*
  • Elizabeth Lalasz, nurse representative, National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United*
  • Jonathan Rosenblum, member of UAW 1981*, National Writers Union
*for identification purposes only

Petition Text

Solidarity Statement in Support of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73

We stand in solidarity with the 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the 7,000 members of Service Employees International Union Local 73, public-support staff, in their contract negotiations with the new Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago School Board.

We stand in solidarity with their just demands for:

  • Smaller class sizes
  • Sustainable community schools with full wrap around services
  • Access to a broad and diverse curriculum including art, music, world languages, computer literacy, and physical education
  • Fully-staffed libraries in all schools
  • Hiring of hundreds more social workers, school nurses, counselors, therapists, psychologists, special education aides and thousands of teachers in order to fully support students
  • Educator-directed, not principal-directed prep time
  • Adequate compensation with no increase in benefit costs

In 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) struck for seven days and won a victory against then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Educators went out again for a one-day strike in 2016. These strikes were a precursor to the victorious wave of Red State educator strikes that swept through West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona in 2018.

Since then, educator strikes of various lengths erupted in Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, Washington State and even charter school educators, members of the CTU, in Chicago, UTLA in Los Angeles and OFT in Parma, Ohio. A victory in this current struggle for educators in Chicago could help build towards the next wave of educator and other strikes in the U.S. In fact, there’s little doubt the current strike by almost 50,000 at General Motors were inspired by all the educator strikes. We believe it’s in the interests of not just educators, but all workers around the U.S. to show solidarity with Chicago educators.

During her election campaign, Mayor Lightfoot agreed with many of the educators’ criticisms of what needed to be changed in the Chicago Public Schools. However, once elected, her promises to both the CTU and SEIU Local 73 have yet to result in any meaningful contract language. Mayor Lightfoot says she doesn’t respond to pressure, but the entire history of the labor movement up through the most recent Red State strikes have made similar claims from those in positions of power ring hollow time and time again.

The CTU and SEIU Local 73 are standing up for the children of Chicago, for all unions and working-class people, in this time of budget cutting, union busting and devastating assaults on our living standards. These unions are fighting for the kind of schools our students, parents, educators, and communities deserve. Therefore, we the undersigned stand in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union and Service Employees International Union Local 73 in their fight to negotiate a contract that addresses all of their issues with Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Board of Education.

CTSSC Facebook Page Petition Sign-On Form
Pilsen Alliance

Pilsen Alliance Statement of Solidarity for Striking Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73

The Pilsen Alliance stands strong in solidarity with our sisters and brothers at the Chicago Teachers Union and the Service Employees International Union Local 73 in the fight for a fair contract that ensures that our children have the best quality education and support that they deserve.  For far too long, neighborhood schools in the Pilsen community, the 25th ward and throughout the City of Chicago have been suffering through decades of disinvestment of resources and support that are having a negative impact with our youth, their families and the community as a whole. As our communities endures gentrification and rapid displacement, we are no stranger to the board of education tactics of hypocrisy when it comes to education equity.  We have battled CPS for essential resources such as a school library at La Casita and our community also took on Mayor 1% when CPS tried to close Pilsen Schools to fund private operated charter schools. We resisted then and supported our teachers when they striked for us in 2012 and again in 2016.

Now, we are seeing the same ugly face of austerity with defunding and the demolition of parent children center at former Bernice Joyner Community center at ABLA; over half a million dollars in budget cuts at Benito Juarez Academy where our students are forced to learn in deteriorating conditions, yet there are funds for a cop academy and mega developments like the Lincoln Yards and 78? Enough is enough!  We are demanding that our Mayor do the right thing and put in writing the terms of a fair contract which will ensure smaller classroom sizes, wrap-around services like librarians, nurses and social workers that holistically support our youth and their families and also ensure that all CPS schools are sanctuary safe spaces for young people and their families who are resisting ICE and white supremacy.. Most importantly we demand that Mayor Lightfoot and Board of Education treat our teachers and educators with dignity and respect with a fair contract that honors their service and commitment to our young people!

The Pilsen Alliance fully supports striking workers and will continue to organize our community to hold our elected officials accountable to the common good. We send the CTU and SEIU73 love and support wish them victory! Si se puede!

Pilsen Alliance Facebook Page
American Federation of Teachers
Thank you, CTU. Thank you for standing up for your kids, for demonstrating that educators want what children need. Thank you for telling the politicians in Chicago, and in Washington, D.C., that kids deserve better. And thank you for using your power to build community and the grass-roots movements that let real democracy flourish. You prove that it’s only together, as a union, that we can win a better life for our communities and ourselves.

Our fight is your fight. We were with you in 2012; we were with you in 2016; we were with you in 2018; and we’re with you now, using our loudest teacher voice to demand lower class sizes and the wrap around services and sanctuary schools your kids urgently need but the city has failed to provide.

The CTU, more than anyone, can be forgiven for not trusting politicians, after Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Rauner. That’s why the need to put it in writing is so important. The AFT has your back and will be fighting with you in solidarity until we prevail.

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
Illinois Federation of Teachers
IFT website

We stand firm as one education labor voice behind you in your fight for a fair contract. As a former high school English teacher, who has been on strike, I know that you would rather be in your classroom, but you are standing up for education justice for the students of Chicago. We congratulate you for that and send you our solidarity.

We stood with you in 2012 and 2016, and we will continue to stand with you until a fair contract is reached that reflects the dignity and respect that you and our students deserve.

Dan Montgomery, Illinois Federation of Teachers president


Teachers for Social Justice

Teachers for Social Justice Statement of Solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union

We call on all TSJ members and friends to support the CTU in its contract negotiations with the city of Chicago. TSJ stands with the CTU, as we did in their 2012 strike, in its bargaining fight for “the schools Chicago students deserve.” From restorative justice, to smaller class sizes, to culturally relevant pedagogy, to equitable funding for disinvested-in Black and Brown neighborhood schools, to librarians and nurses in every school, to stopping education privatization and charter expansion, to the expansion of sustainable community schools, to dignity and respect for para-professionals, and more, TSJ supports the demands of the CTU. We urge all of us to help out in every way we can-whether we are teachers, organizers, parents, students, administrators, community members, or others-including calling Mayor Lightfoot’s office (312-744-3300),  and demanding that she meet the people’s needs.

TSJ website
AFT-West Virginia

The teachers and service personnel of our state federation, AFT-West Virginia and its local affiliates, proudly stand by our brothers and sisters of the Chicago Teachers Union, CTU, and support your efforts to fight for public education.  We understand many of your concerns and we stand in solidarity with you as you stand up and speak out for the schools our students deserve.

Public education continues to be under attack all across the United States, and we know this is not the way it should be.  Parents and community members are standing together to support our teachers and service personnel. They understand that our schools need to be fully funded and supported, and we must all stand together to send a strong message to those who can make this happen across America.

Our members in West Virginia have taken bold measures for the last two years, and we will continue to stand with you as you boldly fight for what is right.  Stay strong, stay united and remain steadfast to your conviction in fighting for a brighter future for public education in Chicago. AFT-West Virginia extends our encouragement, solidarity and unwavering support of your efforts.

American Federation of Teachers, West Virginia State Affiliate
AFT West Virginia website
Florida Education Association

Time and again the Chicago Teachers Union has shown the courage to do whatever it takes to make the district’s schools the best places for children to discover the joy of learning. CTU’s fight for equity and quality for all students, no matter their life circumstances, is an inspiration. You give us courage in our own advocacy as we push forward on many of the same issues facing CTU’s members — pay, staffing shortages, class size. Through unity and perseverance, we all will move administrators and lawmakers to do the right thing for our students, educators and schools.

The Florida Education Association and its 145,000 members are honored to stand beside our brothers and sisters who are working tirelessly for the children of Chicago. May success come quickly for your members, and may you achieve each of your goals.

Fedrick C. Ingram, President, Florida Education Association
Florida Education Association website
Texas American Federation of Teachers

We stand in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union and its effort to ensure students have the learning environment they deserve. We understand that CTU members in the trenches know what they need to help their kids achieve—more support staff, more time for teachers to plan, and a work environment that respects the professionals in our schools.

Here in Texas, we share many of the same challenges as in Chicago—larger classes sizes, inadequate funding at all levels, and an ongoing struggle against those who seek to privatize our schools. Count on us to share your fight for a contract to serve your school employees and the students they educate each day.

Zeph CapoPresident, Texas American Federation of Teachers
Texas AFT website
Ohio Federation of Teachers

The 20,000 active and retired members of the Ohio Federation of Teachers stand in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union as you fight for the public schools that Chicagoans deserve.

In 2012, when CTU went on strike, you lit a spark in the labor movement and the education justice movement that served as inspiration for the statewide strikes and actions by teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona, and even for our groundbreaking strike at Summit Academy in Parma, Ohio’s first charter school strike.

You are not alone in your fight. Educators and working people around the country are with you  and will support you until you win a contract that guarantees the learning conditions students need and the working conditions you deserve.

Ohio AFT website
Houston Federation of Teachers

We commend CTU for empowering its members to stand up and demand significant changes for the betterment of Chicago students. In Houston we’ve seen the power in our union, the power in our work to transform lives, and the power in speaking out together in a collective voice. We will make sure to let our members know that we share many of the issues you are fighting for, the most of important of which is ensuring our schools have the full resources they need to provide a safe, inspiring and successful environment for our kids.

Jackie Anderson, Secretary-Treasurer, Houston Federation of Teachers
HFT website
AFT Michigan

The members of AFT Michigan stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in the fight to win the schools our students deserve. Just like you, our members are working toward smaller classes, adequate staffing, better pay and benefits, and justice in our communities. Stand strong together as you continue to push for justice!

David Hecker, President of AFT Michigan
AFT Michigan Website
AFT New Mexico

The American Federation of Teachers New Mexico stands in solidarity with the members of the Chicago Teachers Union!

In so many ways, CTU shapes the direction of our union, leading the charge for better public schools for our students, better partnerships with the communities we serve, and stronger voices in our workplaces. Please know that as you fight for the students and families of Chicago, your ripple effect reaches far beyond the Windy City.

We too, are emerging from a decade of failed austerity policies in New Mexico that starved our schools, attempted to weaken our union, and sought to de-professionalized education at every level. We fought back against these policies, re-doubled our efforts, and changed the administration in Santa Fe. Today, we are seeing historic investments in public schools, teacher education and recruitment, salaries, community school initiatives, and increased labor rights. We know that you will also achieve the public education system that Chicago students and families deserve.

No matter how hard it seems – your rights are worth fighting for, your students are worth fighting for, your community is worth fighting for, and your profession is worth fighting for! We are with you!

Stephanie Ly, President, AFT New Mexico

AFT New Mexico, AFL-CIO, A Union of Professionals

Louisiana Federation of Teachers and School Employees
Louisiana teachers and support staff stand in solidarity with you, the Chicago Teachers Union, in your fight for a fair contract. We know firsthand that when educators stand up to fight for a contract, what they’re really fighting for is their students. By coming together and demanding better pay and benefits, fully staffed schools, smaller class sizes and social justice within your communities you are making sure that every single student has the opportunities they need to succeed.

Your continued commitment to this work is an inspiration to educators around the country. By standing firm in your values and your commitment to education you can bring newfound respect to the profession and the Chicago public school system. Thank you for the work you are doing.

Larry Carter, President, Louisiana Federation of Teachers and School Employees[/bio]

Louisiana AFT logo

Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School-Related Personnel
The members of Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School-Related Personnel stand united with the Chicago Teachers Union in your fight for schools that Chicago’s students, their families, teachers and PSRP’s not only deserve, but are owed. Stay United! Stay Strong! Persevere!

The Chicago Teachers Union continues to show educators across the nation that collectively, we can force change to not only improve our profession, but our public schools and the lives of the children we see every day.

Student learning conditions are our working conditions. They are interconnected. Education Minnesota and its nearly 90,000 members have your back as you fight for the schools our students, families and educators deserve.

Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School-Related Personnel[/bio] KCFT website
Education Minnesota

Education Minnesota Logo

Cleveland Teachers Union
The 5,000 members of the Cleveland Teachers Union stands in solidarity with CTU Local 1 in their fight to ensure that their students get the supports the students and families deserve. We know how difficult it is to make the decision to strike. We also recognize that it is classroom professionals and related service providers that must be the voice for Chicago’s children. We stand with you as you continue to fight for what is best for the children and families of Chicago.

David J. Quolke, President, Cleveland Teachers
website of our sister CTU
Broward Teachers Union

The 12,000 members of the Broward Teachers Union stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Chicago Teachers Union. We urge you to stand firm in your fight for fair salaries, equitable funding, improved working conditions and benefits, and the most superior educational environments for your students.

As all of us know, it is impossible to put a price on the work of educators. Despite our profession and our public schools being under siege from our federal and state governments, we continue to believe in the promise of public education and to give more than our best to our students.

BTU has your back. Your struggle is our struggle. All our members stand with you in wanting the best for our schools, our students and all the dedicated men and women who continue to fight the battle for equity and excellence. BTU sends our strength and resolve to you and wants you to know that you are not alone. Together will our brothers and sisters from Chicago and across the nation, we are union strong!

Broward Teachers Union

Professional Staff Congress

The Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the union of 30,000 faculty and professional staff at the nation’s largest public urban university, City University of New York, stand in solidarity with our fellow educators represented by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). The powerful wave of teacher strikes and militant teacher organizing that is reinvigorating the American labor movement crested first in Chicago in 2012 when the CTU struck for nine days.

Teachers, and other workers throughout the country, have been inspired by CTU members to make the brave and hopeful choice to strike when a strike is necessary. Hundreds of thousands of teachers and millions of public school students are better off because of a movement that started when Chicago teachers demanded better for themselves, their students, and the communities that they serve.

The PSC stands with members of CTU now, as you again vote on a strike authorization. We wish you success at the bargaining table and power and resilience on the picket line, if it comes to that. Smaller class sizes, fair pay and benefits for all education workers, fully staffed supports for students, and justice for families are demands worth fighting for.

Professional Staff Congress
PSC website
Socorro AFT

The Chicago Teachers Union has long been a beacon of light to educators and unionists throughout the nation. We here in El Paso, Texas and the Socorro AFT stand shoulder to shoulder with you in your continued fight for the good and welfare of your members in particular and the labor movement overall.

We are all “Chicago Strong.”

Veronica Hernandez, President, Socorro AFT

Baltimore Teachers Union

The Baltimore Teachers Union stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers of the Chicago Teachers Union. Across the nation, public schools have been drastically underfunded and the unions that protect teacher and PSRP working conditions and our students’ learning conditions, are under a decades long assault from right wing billionaires and austerity politics.

We understand the value of a fair, respectfully negotiated contract and would like to believe the Chicago Public Schools does as well. We call on them to come to the table and negotiate in good faith to ensure the educational professionals have all the tools and resources they need to educate the children of Chicago. Unfortunately budget fights, school closures, and powerful interests’ willingness to trade communal health for economic efficiency are nothing new to us here in Baltimore. We know all too well the arduous task of ensuring that the city, state, and federal government commits the funds needed to create the schools our students deserve.

In Baltimore, teachers and PSRPs go above and beyond to provide the students with the best education possible, despite working in substandard aging facilities, growing class sizes and insufficient technology and resources. We know the members of the Chicago Teachers Union do the same, and want nothing more than amicable negotiations that result in a fair contract. We also know that it is incumbent of Gov. Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot and every politician in Illinois and Chicago to see that the children of Chicago get the schools they deserve. We in Baltimore are inspired by the amazing work, organizing, and actions of the educators in Chicago, and stand with you in solidarity.

Our fight is your fight, and your fight is ours.

Diamonté Brown, President, Baltimore Teachers Union

BTU: Baltimore Teachers Union

California Federation of Teachers
“We stand united with the 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union and your fight for your students, your schools, and your profession. Your demands for small class sizes, fair pay and benefits, fully staffed supports, and justice for families are exactly what our students need and our members deserve.

Your collective strength and commitment to your communities have inspired teachers and classified professionals from across the country for years. Now, as you may be forced once again to walk the picket line, we stand with you to fight for public education!”

Jeff Freitas, California Federation of Teachers
CFT website
Albuquerque Teachers Federation
The Albuquerque Teachers Federation stands in solidarity with Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) as they approach the looming strike deadline. Educators across our nation must continue to fight for long overdue raises, but let us be clear, our labor actions over these past years have demonstrated the fact that organized educators want what students need.

All over the United States, educators share the same struggles: overcrowded classrooms and our students’ lack of access to essential support providers like nurses, librarians, and social workers. We are all witnessing firsthand the increase in the number of students who are affected by trauma and their need for more support at school. For decades our educational system has suffered under excessive student testing demands and the pressure to teach to the test. These top-down reforms have failed our students and our communities. All educators, like our colleagues in Chicago, must exert our right to teach and our students’ right to the well-funded, well-staffed public schools they deserve.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in the Chicago Teachers Union in demanding that the new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, act on her stated good intentions by Putting her Promises in Writing!

Words are great—contracts are binding. Put it in writing.

Students deserve what CTU wants: more librarians, nurses, special education and bilingual support, smaller classes, and a counselor for every 250 students.

Albuquerque Teachers Federation
ATF website
United Teachers of Los Angeles

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) stands in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73 in the wake of their strike authorization votes after months of fruitless contract negotiations with new Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago School Board. Last week 94% of CTU members voted in favor of a strike. Educators could walk off the job and onto the picket lines as soon as October 7.

Just as UTLA had to go on strike in January 2019 to win improvements for the students of Los Angeles, Chicago teachers are ready to walk to win the schools their communities deserve.

Because of a state law that changes funding formulas and other sources, Chicago Public Schools has about one billion more dollars available annually than in recent years—yet city officials continue to push an austerity agenda. Chicago schools are desperately short of nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, and other support staff, even as students struggle with high levels of trauma driven by poverty and neighborhood violence.

“In the richest country in the world, if students aren’t getting what they need, the issue is not a lack of money but a lack of political will,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said. “If elected leaders are not capable of leading on reinvestment, then teachers, parents, and students will continue taking to the streets to defend the essential civic institution of public education. We stand with Chicago educators in their righteous fight.”

The Chicago educators’ top demands include lower class sizes to prevent the current practice of packing some kindergarten classes with more than 40 students each; increased numbers of school nurses, social workers, and other critical frontline staff; protections for special education students and English language learners; a higher wage floor for school clerks, teaching assistants, and other paraprofessionals, many of whom earn wages so low their children qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches; and a greater investment of resources into classroom needs and student supports.

Chicago teachers are also pressing common good proposals and demanding that the school district take a stand on larger issues that affect the community, including curbing charter school expansion, supporting campaigns for affordable housing policies, and officially designating the school system a “sanctuary” for undocumented people. UTLA educators won a number of our common good demands during our strike, including support for immigrant students, a program to end disruptive “random” student searches, and expansion of green space on campuses.

United Teachers of Los Angeles

UTLA website
Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association

To: Jesse Sharkey
President, Chicago Teachers Union

Dear Mr. Sharkey:

Seven years ago, we wrote to you with a message of solidarity in your fight for fair salaries and benefits, better working conditions, due process and professional rights. Today you are still fighting for the same issues that teacher-activists and public education advocates all across North American are fighting for, too.

As president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association, I can assure you that teachers in British Columbia and across Canada are paying attention to your continued struggle. Teachers in BC are also in contract talks with an intransigent employer, one who demands concessions and refuses to fully fund public education. We, too, are fighting for fair salaries and better working conditions.

Your courage and resolve is inspiring! On behalf of over 1,200 teachers in our local, please pass on our message of solidarity. I hope that you, and all members of the CTU, find some comfort in knowing that teachers everywhere support your courageous stand. Your struggle is our struggle.

Thank you and good luck with the next steps.

In solidarity,

Denise Wood

Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association

Racine Educators United

Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 Support Resolution

WHEREAS all students deserve the right to a quality public education in sustainable community schools with full wrap around services, and

WHEREAS all students deserve smaller class sizes with a hard cap in order to receive adequate attention from teachers and end overcrowding of classes, and

WHEREAS all students deserve access to a broad and diverse curriculum that includes art, world languages, computer literacy, and physical education, and

WHEREAS all students deserve support including fully-staffed libraries in all schools, access to social workers, school nurses, counselors, therapists and psychologists, and

WHEREAS students deserve access to special education case managers and teachers that are able to fully support their students, and

WHEREAS teachers and all educators deserve to be adequately compensated for their work, and

WHEREAS Chicago Public Schools should welcome all students no matter their citizenship status and support a district wide Sanctuary Schools policy, and

WHEREAS the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73 are standing up for the children of Chicago and for all public employees and unions in this time of budget cutting and union busting,
Now, therefore be it

RESOLVED that Racine Educators United (REA-REAA) supports the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 in their fight to negotiate a contract that addresses all of these issues with the Chicago Board of Education.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Racine Educators United will encourage other National Education Association locals to adopt a similar resolution.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Racine Educators United communicate such support to its members, including encouraging them to sign solidarity petitions or statements, donate to picket line food funds, and communicate their support for CTU and SEIU Local 73 and its demands to the Chicago Board of Education and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Resolution of support from Racine Educators United

Jeffery M. Leving, Esq.

Chicago teachers want – and deserve – what’s best for our kids

By Jeffery M. Leving

You can tell a lot about a society by how it values its schools. In Chicago, our support is luke-warm.

Chicago’s public school teachers have voted to authorize a strike, with a walkout possible in mid-October. They are complaining about a lack of school nurses, a lack of librarians, and a proposal by the Board of Education to reduce teacher preparation time, which now stands at a measly four hours a week. Special education classroom assistants, bus aides, security guards and custodians, represented by a different union, also have voted to authorize a strike.

I have spent four decades hectoring judges, politicians, bureaucrats and the general public about the need for father involvement in raising and educating children. I’ve pushed to remove impediments for dads who are not married to their children’s mother to be able to participate as fathers, because I know how important it is.

But for a variety of reasons, not all of our children have access to both their parents: Some fathers, regrettably, do not care about their kids. Others are incarcerated or deceased or kept from their kids because of societal or legal barriers. In some cases it is mothers who are absent.

Three-quarters of our Chicago Public Schools students are “economically disadvantaged.” It’s hard enough for two parents to raise kids, especially in low- and moderate-income families where there’s a lot of financial stress, and we all know how hard it is for a single parent to raise a child or multiple children.

To the extent that these hardworking parents fall short, our teachers and school support staff are handed the responsibility to make good. They act as counselors, referees, watchdogs and protectors, in addition to teaching their academic lessons and making sure each of their students learns. In general, they do a miraculous job, and we rarely stop to say thank you.

The teachers are fighting to improve our schools. If Chicago is to be the word-class city we like to think it is, and if it’s going to continue to be the economic engine of the Midwest, we can’t neglect our schools – or it will reveal that we care more about tourists and venture capitalists than we do about our own children.

As for the teachers’ negotiating tactics, of course they’re in it for wages too. Teaching is a solid middle-class occupation in a society in which such jobs are waning. Teachers aren’t going to be rich, but at least in Illinois they aren’t going to be poor either. If we want to continue to attract and retain smart, dedicated teachers, we have to offer decent salaries. It’s not the only factor that goes into recruitment and retention, but it’s at or near the top of everyone’s list. And honestly, if it weren’t for the efforts of the Teachers’ Union, and it was up to taxpayers alone, we’d pay teachers $12.50 an hour and wonder why they’re no good and don’t stay on the job.

In 2012, the Chicago teachers walked out for seven days, and public sentiment was largely on their side – a miscalculation by an anti-union mayor who was eventually forced to negotiate. Today, we have a mayor without an ideological need to put the teachers in their place, so I dearly hope, for the sake of our children and our teachers and support staff, that a strike can be avoided, a fair agreement can be reached, and our schools can be enriched so our young citizens can get the education they deserve.

Jeffery M. Leving, a graduate of Senn H.S., is founder and president of The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd., and is the author of Dads’ Rights and How to be a Good Divorced Dad.
Illinois Labor History Society
Whereas, Chicago Teachers Union Local 1 members were the nation’s pioneer organization for winning fair conditions for teachers, helping launch a national organization that leads the way for properly staffed schools and appropriate benefits for our teachers; and

Whereas, proper education for youth requires appropriately sized classrooms, fairly paid support staff, and the myriad of social services that our young people require; and

Whereas, Chicago Teachers Union Local 1 stands not only for its members’ wages and benefits, but also for properly staffed and accessible neighborhood schools; and

Whereas, Chicago’s economic, social and community development rests on the foundation of involved and trained youth, whose future survival and prosperity depends upon a well-functioning educational system; and

Whereas, the Illinois Labor History appreciates the efforts of Chicago teachers to tell the city’s entire history and the many battles for fairness; therefore,

Be it resolved that the Illinois Labor History Society goes on record to support Chicago teachers and school personnel in their quest for a fair and decent contract; and, be it

Further resolved, that the Illinois Labor History Society appreciates the historic role that school personnel and their organization have played in ensuring quality schools, an equitable and caring community and encourages all parties to join in a vision for fairness and educational quality.

Illinois Labor History Society
World Federation of Educatiors FISE


The World Federation of Educatiors FISE, sends a message of solidarity to the CTU

Chicago teachers went on strike Thursday 17 October, marching on picket lines after failing to reach a contract deal with the nation’s third-largest school district in a dispute that canceled classes for more than 300,000 students.

The strike came after the Chicago Teachers Union CTU confirmed Wednesday night that its 25,000 members would not return to their classrooms. It follows months of negotiations between the union and Chicago Public Schools that failed to resolve disputes over pay and benefits, class size and teacher preparation time.

The strike is Chicago’s first major walkout by teachers since 2012 and city officials announced early Wednesday that all classes were canceled for Thursday in hopes of giving more planning time for parents.


we support the teachers’ strike

for increase in wages

for the right of all children to public modern education without any fees,

for the education that the working class needs and which satisfies the rights of teachers.


Kenai Peninsula Borough Education Support Association.

CTU Leadership,

We are organizing our members to wear Red in support of our brothers and sisters in Chicago. Be strong and steadfast! Also we will be wearing red at our Fall Event this weekend. I am one of our negotiations team members. Know that we support you….

John Sanborn
Kenai Peninsula Borough Education Support Association.
Soldotna, Alaska

AFT Massachusetts
“AFT Massachusetts members stand in strong solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union in your fight for real education justice. When you bargain for lower class sizes and fully staffed schools, wrap around services and restorative justice, and equal pay and fair benefits, your fight is our fight, and we’re with you all the way.

“We’re deeply inspired by your commitment to improving your students’ lives and strengthening your schools’ communities. You’ve shown in the past that when we stand together and fight for what’s right, we win, and we have no doubt you’ll prove it again. Educators, parents, students, and community allies in Massachusetts are standing with you until you win a contract that’s good for students and fair to educators – whatever it takes.”

– AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos

Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE)
Public education in a democratic society is based on the principle that every child is of equal and incalculable value. Schools in a democracy aim to prepare the next generation to be knowledgeable and informed citizens and residents; to be critical thinkers and creative problem solvers; to be prepared to contribute positively to communities, workplaces, and societies that are characterized by diversity and inequities; and to be healthy, happy, and able to support the well-being of others with compassion and courage. The children and youth of Chicago deserve no less.

A group of Chicago-based researchers formed Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE) in 2011 to vindicate the belief that education is a human right, not a commodity to be bought and sold according to market forces. This network of scholars joined forces to address the gap between cherished public education values and educational policy and practices. At the time, the prevailing “common sense” was that public education was failing, teachers were bad, unions were corrupt and only market-based competition and metrics could provide effective solutions. In short, the best way to fix public schools would be to “privatize them” by creating competition through charter schools, diverting public school resources to private schools through voucher programs, assessing school and teacher performance based on high-stakes test scores, and closing “underutilized” (i.e., “unprofitable”) schools while simultaneously expanding charter and online education. This privatizing approach to “school reform” was so dominant just ten years ago that Republican and Democratic policies on school reform had little differentiation.

As we take stock of the political moment in 2019, we again note that research supports the demands of the Chicago Teachers Union as they make the difficult decision to potentially strike. We approach the issues raised by the looming strike based on our knowledge of the existing research which leads us to the inevitable conclusion—that good teaching conditions are good learning conditions. The academic literature confirms what students, parents and teachers already know: students learn better when supported by smaller class sizes, in schools that are staffed with enough librarians, psychologists, nurses and social workers to create environments that enable all students to flourish. Teachers can focus on teaching and learning when schools have necessary support services for students and their families. Research also illustrates that restorative practices in schools are key interventions to stem the school to prison pipeline. With almost 80% of the students in CPS living at or below the federal poverty level, the need for consistent and quality support services is essential.

Like all workers, school employees should be fairly compensated, including all the paraprofessionals in schools who currently do not make a living wage. Building and supporting the quality schools our communities deserve is not just about teacher pay. For these reasons, we, the undersigned researchers and advocates applaud the CTU for authorizing a strike to demand a reprioritization of our values so that Chicago’s schoolchildren have the learning environment they need to succeed.

Therese Quinn, Associate Professor of Museum and Exhibition Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
Martha Wilkins, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education, Lewis University
Erica R. Meiners, Professor, Education and Gender & Women’s Studies, Northeastern Illinois University
Sumi Cho, Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law
David Stovall, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education (retired), University of Illinois at Chicago
Sarah E. Dennis, Clinical Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Nicole Nguyen, Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois-Chicago
Elizabeth A. Skinner, Associate Professor, Illinois State University
Sepehr Vakil, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University
Karyn Sandlos, Associate Professor of Art & Education, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
Stephanie Farmer, Associate Professor of Sociology, Roosevelt University
Leticia Villarreal Sosa, Professor, Dominican University
Isaura Pulido, Associate Professor and Chair, Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies, Northeastern Illinois University
Josh Radinsky, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Valerie C. Johnson, Associate Professor and Chair, Depaul University
Erin Mackinney, Assistant Professor of Bilingual/ESL Education, Roosevelt University
Amina Chaudhri, Associate Professor, Northeastern Illinois University
Francesca Gaiba, Associate Director, Northwestern University
L. Boyd Bellinger, UIC Doctoral Student, Policy Studies in Urban Education
Adam Greteman, Assistant Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Elizabeth Meadows, Associate Professor, Roosevelt University
Judith Gouwens, Professor of Elementary Education, Roosevelt University
Jung Kim, Associate Professor of Literacy, Lewis Univeristy
Simeon Stumme, Associate Professor of Education, Chicago State Iniversity
William Boerman-Cornell, Professor of Education, Trinity Christian College
Emilia Chico, Adjunct Professor
Diane Horwitz, Coordinator, Education Issues Forums, DePaul College of Education
Eve L. Ewing, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
Leslie Rebecca Bloom, Professor, Education and Women’s and Gender Studies, Roosevelt University
Kathleen McInerney, Professor, St. Xavier University
Amira Proweller, Associate Professor, DePaul University
Raja Bhattar, Independent Consultant and Researcher
Valentina Gamboa-Turner, Adjunct Faculty, Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies, Northeastern Illinois University
Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight, Professor, SXU and DePaul
Kay Fujiyoshi, Instructor, University of Chicago, Urban Teacher Education Program
Dana Cole, Faculty, Harold Washington College

Cook County Commissioners
October 17, 2019

Hon. Lori Lightfoot
Mayor, City of Chicago
Chicago City Hall
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Dear Mayor Lightfoot:

We write today as concerned Illinois residents and members of the Cook County Board of
Commissioners who represent parts of the City of Chicago. In our roles on the County Board, we
oversee two institutions that have major impacts on the students and families we serve: the Cook
County Health and Hospital System and the Cook County Court System. Too often, our contact with
students and their families is involuntary, either through the ER or through the criminal justice
system. It is for these reasons that we write today to encourage you to settle the contracts with the
Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 to provide frontline preventative supports so that
students and their families have a better opportunity to succeed.

Research is clear on the benefits of in-school healthcare, both physical and mental. Students
perform better in school, with less disruption to their day-to-day schedules, and have drastically
reduced contact with the criminal justice system. Thus, school nurses and school social workers are
key healthcare providers that keep everyone’s costs down in the long run. Students can receive
treatment that addresses their needs in a supportive environment from people they trust. We
encourage you to provide clear, written contract language to increase the number of these vital

Research is also clear that a living wage is the best healthcare and crime prevention strategy.
Workers with better wages miss fewer days with illnesses, their children have better life outcomes,
and their families provide stability to neighborhoods throughout the City. We support real wage
increases for the lowest-paid workers in CPS – the people who make the schools run – to ensure
that they and their children can continue to afford to live and work in Chicago.

We do not believe that a teachers’ strike benefits anyone involved. It seems clear that a good-faith
effort to implement staffing and wage proposals over the life of the contract provides wins for
everyone involved. We hope you agree.

We value our continued partnership and look forward to working collaboratively with you in the
years ahead on healthcare, criminal justice, and other challenges facing Chicago and Cook County.


Hon. Alma Anaya, Commissioner 7th District

Hon. Luis Arroyo Jr., Commissioner 8th District

Hon. Dennis Deer, Commissioner 2nd District

Hon. Brandon Johnson, Commissioner 1st District

Hon. Stanley Moore, Commissioner 4th District

Hon. Deborah Sims, Commissioner 5th District

Hon. Larry Suffredin, Commissioner 13th District

NEA Solidarity Letter (PDF)

Jesse Sharkey, President
Chicago Teachers Union
1901 W. Carroll Ave.
Chicago, IL 60612

Dear President Sharkey:

I am writing to express support and encouragement for the members of the Chicago Teachers Union in your fight for what all your students need to thrive.

Chicago public schools must be places where parents want to send their children, teachers want to teach, and all students can learn. This is about creating an equitable and responsive public school system that reflects our values and the needs of the community. This is why NEA and our three million members across the country are behind you in this struggle.

You are fighting to make sure students in our most vulnerable and marginalized communities have the same access to a great public school as children do in our most affluent communities. I am so proud of CTU and its members for demanding what are students need to learn and our educators need to teach.

NEA and its members are with CTU in calling on Mayor Lightfoot to deliver on her promises. That means assuring that there is a librarian in every school, and enough social workers, nurses, and counselors as well as 1000 teacher assistants in the elementary and high schools. Moreover, it is an injustice for Mayor Lightfoot to ignore the more 300 special education vacancies.

Thank you for your strength and courage. NEA members across the country – your national community – are proud of you. Stay strong and united. Continue to stand together for the greater professional respect that you so rightfully deserve!

Please convey to your members that they have the full support of our union, and don’t hesitate to let me know how NEA can assist you in this struggle.

In Solidarity,

Lily Eskelsen Garcia
President, National Education Association

Send a statement of solidarity

CTU members are overjoyed at the outpouring of support we’ve received from groups and individuals throughout the country, and even worldwide! If you’d like to add your voice to our struggle for justice, please send your statement as text, a link or an attachment to Leadership@ctulocal1.org.

Email Us

Support Our Fight

We’re grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support we’ve received worldwide. If you are moved to contribute to the union’s fund, your money will help with materials and personnel that the union has taken on in this fight for the schools Chicago’s students deserve.

More from the Contract Campaign

Contract Campaign Central
Strike FAQ
Take Action
Solidarity from Allies
Latest Bargaining Update
What We're Fighting For
Resources for Organizing
Bargaining Timeline
Social Media / CTU Speaks! Podcast

General CTU Announcement

Fighting for a Fair Contract!

CTU is fighting for quality pay and benefits (including health care), full staffing in our schools, smaller class sizes and justice for students and families. Get updates and resources for our contract fights here.

Learn more