ATU Local 241 Bus Drivers Union Pres. Keith Hill
Chicago public school teachers have voted to strike, not for their own benefit, but for the wellbeing of their students and schools.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 27, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris
Any day our teachers don’t have the resources they need to succeed, we’ve fallen short in our promise to them. I stand in solidarity with Chicago’s teachers. Educators should be paid a living wage — and nurses and librarians must be involved in our education system.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 27, 2019
Erica Lira Castro
As Chicago teachers prepare for a strike, please know this: @JulianCastro and I have your back.
As an educator, I know we only want the best for our students. Students deserve smaller class sizes, bilingual educators, and nurses. https://t.co/ipHRhn0gN2
— Erica Lira Castro (@EricaLiraCastro) October 3, 2019
VP Joe Biden
I’ve seen firsthand how hard America’s teachers and support staff work with little support and few resources. They deserve better. I’m proud to support Chicago’s educators as they fight for fair wages, full staffing, and smaller class sizes.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 24, 2019
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
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
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 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
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.
Illinois Federation of Teachers
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Louisiana Federation of Teachers and School Employees
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.
Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School-Related Personnel
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.
Cleveland Teachers Union
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.
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.”
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.
California Federation of Teachers
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!”
Albuquerque Teachers Federation
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.
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 AngelesUTLA 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.
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.
Jeffery M. Leving, Esq.
Chicago teachers want – and deserve – what’s best for our kids
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.
Illinois Labor History Society
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.
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 CTU
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.
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….
Kenai Peninsula Borough Education Support Association.
“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)
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
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
United Faculty and Academic Staff, Madison, Wisconsin
October 23, 2019
To the members of CTU and SEIU Local 73,
Every day we send our children to public schools throughout Wisconsin. Every day we educate graduates of public schools from around the country. Every day we see the benefits of a strong public school system that puts students first. And every day we are reminded that our working conditions, every teacher’s working conditions, are our students’ learning conditions.
That’s why we—members of United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS), AFT Local 223— stand in solidarity with Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73. We stand in solidarity with you as you demand respectful raises, reduced health care premiums, and affordable co-pays. We stand in solidarity with you as you demand adequate prep time and responsible class sizes in order to ensure that each student receives the care and attention necessary to succeed. We stand in solidarity with you as you demand a comprehensive curriculum that includes bilingual education, special education, digital literacy, and arts and culture: the well-rounded education that meets the needs of students who are faced with mounting pressures from unnecessary testing. We stand in solidarity with you as you demand that the Chicago Board of Education support and sustain the restorative justice programs that you have built. We stand in solidarity with you as you demand students receive access to more social workers, more nurses, more frontline staff. More librarians. Counselors. Therapists. Psychologists. Artists. We stand in solidarity with you as you fight for every student’s right to a quality public education.
We will continue to encourage our members to sign petitions, send statements of solidarity, donate to the picket line, and contact the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, until your demands are met.
Good luck! We’re proud to support you as you stand up for what is right and show the country what passion and justice can accomplish for our students.
Members of United Faculty and Academic Staff
AFT Local 223
Letter to Mayor Lightfoot from ILGA members
Hon. Lori Lightfoot
Mayor, City of Chicago Chicago
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Via Electronic Mail
Dear Mayor Lightfoot:
We write today both as concerned Illinois residents and members of the General Assembly who are deeply involved in school funding reform. Illinois’ landmark school funding bill, SB 1947 from the 100th General Assembly, includes several elements that financially benefit the Chicago Public Schools. The bill includes significant increases in revenue to CPS as well as equity provisions that drive resources to classrooms, libraries, counseling offices, and nursing stations in schools. It is on this equity point that we reach out with regard to the current contract negotiations between the Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Teachers Union, and Service Employees International Union Local 73. On behalf of the students and families we represent, we ask you to follow the letter and spirit of Illinois Evidence Based Funding formula and ensure, in writing, that CPS students have what students in Evanston, Norridge, Oak Park, Cicero, Oak Lawn, Dolton, and other nearby school districts have.
The General Assembly made clear that the additional dollars in SB 1947 and subsequent state budgets are provided with the intent of providing students with evidence-based practices that make school more rewarding. SB 1947’s twenty-seven funding elements constitute a roadmap of how dollars should be spent for student success. The model builds in spending on lower class sizes, regionally appropriate compensation packages, and research-based staffing ratios, among other best practices. The model also includes a hold harmless provision that ensures no district will receive less funding than it did in 2017. We strongly encourage you to implement the formula’s twenty-seven elements, reorient CPS’ budgeting system to include a similar hold harmless provision to protect vulnerable schools, and to negotiate over class size and staffing as you work toward final contract settlements with the CTU and SEIU Local 73.
We do not believe that this strike benefits anyone involved. We are encouraged by news reports to date regarding negotiations. It seems clear that continued negotiations on key components of the State’s school funding model could end this disruptive conflict. We hope you agree.
We value our continued partnership and look forward to working collaboratively with you in the years ahead on school funding, other school issues, and the serious social and financial challenges facing Chicago and Illinois.
With warmest regards,
Sen. Antonio Munoz, 1st District
Sen. Omar Aquino, 2nd District
Sen. Ram Villivalam, 8th District
Sen. Robert Martwick, 10th District
Sen. Robert Peters, 13th District
Sen. Jacqueline Collins, 16th District
Sen. Bill Cunningham, 18th District
Rep. Aaron Ortiz, 1st District
Rep. Theresa Mah, 2nd District
Rep. Luis Arroyo, 3rd District
Rep. Delia Ramirez, 4th District
Rep. Ann Williams, 11th District
Rep. Sarah Feigenholtz, 12th District
Rep. Greg Harris, 14th District
Rep. John D’Amico, 15th District
Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, 19th District
Rep. Celina Villanueva, 21st District
Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, 24th District
Rep. Justin Slaughter, 27th District
Rep. Mary Flowers, 31st District
Rep. Nicholas Smith, 34th District
Rep. Will Guzzardi, 39th District
Rep. Jaime Andrade, 40th District
Professor Emerita at Saint Xavier University
Good morning, I don’t know who will see this, but wanted to say that I’ve sent this letter to the Trib and the Sun Times in support of the strike, but haven’t heard back. For what it’s worth, I thought I’d send it to you. Let me know if it would be useful for you to use in some way. Thanks. I’ll paste it now :
As a Chicago area professor, I support the CTU Teachers’ Strike. While completing my doctorate at DePaul, I also participated in university life at Northwestern, Loyola, University of Chicago, and UIC, then taught as a professor at Saint Xavier University, Chicago’s oldest university, for a decade. I support the strike because Higher Ed doesn’t work without strong K-12 education. Incoming first-year college students who have not had a good K-12 education often fall behind in basic coursework or are at risk of dropping out before the end of their first year of college. We professors are acutely aware that what we do is not possible if K-12 education is not respected, well-compensated, and attractive to young people who want to become K-12 educators. This second point is crucial: we regularly encounter a talented, diverse pool of undergraduates who desire to teach. But many Departments of Education at colleges and universities in the Chicago area are on the decline in terms of declared majors, or have closed altogether, because teaching K-12 isn’t respected or fairly compensated. So, if you expect college students to succeed and if you want some of our best young people to want to become teachers and perhaps even stay in the area to contribute their talents, support the strike. The inconvenience of the strike is a reminder of just how far-reaching the consequences of K-12 education are. Having a good education system isn’t about whether you have a kid in school. It’s about what kind of society we want to be.
Dr. Molly Sturdevant-O’Donnell, PhD
Saint Xavier University
Champaign-Urbana Jobs With Justice
The Mother Jones Chapter of Jobs with Justice, Champaign-Urbana, IL, expresses its strong support for the Chicago Teachers Union in their historic strike for educational equity and teachers’ rights. The CTU is a beacon of strength at a dark time. Solidarity!
Champaign-Urbana Jobs With Justice
Loyola University Chicago's Worker Coalition
Letter of Support for CTU and SEIU73 Members from Loyola University Chicago’s Worker Coalition
Loyola University’s Worker Coalition stands with our colleagues at the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 – our own union Local – as they fight for equity and justice for themselves, their students and a Chicago that works for all of us. Mayor Lightfoot has an opportunity to prioritize public education by capping class sizes, as well as properly staffing each CPS school with fairly paid librarians, nurses, social workers, clinicians, counselors and support staff. We urge her to put into writing a fair contract which serves all those who serve students in Chicago Public Schools. We support CTU and SEIU73 members as they fight for educational justice and thank them for their courage and commitment.
Loyola University Chicago’s CAS NTT Faculty Union
Loyola University Graduate Workers’ Union
Loyola University Chicago’s Lakeside AAUP Chapter
Harry Bridges Span School- LAUSD Teacher
As an LAUSD Teacher who just walked the line a few short months ago, I want you all to know we stand behind you 100%! Don’t give up and fight hard! You ROCK!
Harry Bridges Span School- LAUSD
Retired CPS teacher
Even though I now live hundreds of miles away and my health is not good…I support the striking teachers with all my heart. Keep it up until we get what we need for our teachers, staff and students.
Jay Anderson Retired CPS teacher and proud member of the CTU.
Association of Illinois School Library Educators
My name is Anna Kim and I am the President of the Association of Illinois School LIbrary Educators. I am also a school librarian at CPS and I remember that when I first started, we used to have an entire Department of Libraries and all we have now is one librarian representative in the entire Central Office and she is technically a part of the Department of Literacy.
The AISLE board members have come up with a statement in support of including school librarians in the contract. I have attached the statement to this email. Please note that the statement is not from me, in my office as the AISLE President, but from the AISLE Board. This is to prevent any accusations of impropriety due to my professional connection with CPS.
Please feel free to share this with the CTU members.
Thanks for all you do,
Professor Emeritus SUNY
Dear Brothers and Sisters;
As a manner of NYSUT and AFT for 49 years and UUP for 43years, I am familiar with the importance of standing up for educational justice and human rights. It is clear from your information and demands, that the members of the CTU continue the long public education union tradition of fighting for the educational needs of the whole person you care for in the schools. Know that as a long time educator in the public sector I support your reasoned requests and the strike into which you are forced by politicians who are failing to support the families who live in their jurisdictions. The union makes us strong. Solidarity keeps the union strong.
Minna S Barrett PHD
Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus SUNY at Old Westbury 1975-2018 Centereach Public Schools 1970
Boston Teachers Union
“The Boston Teachers Union stands in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 who are on strike today for a fair contract. What the CTU and SEIU 73 are asking for is not only reasonable, but righteous.
This is a critical moment in the fight for education justice. On a national level, disinvestment in public education has led to understaffed schools, inadequate support services for students, and untenable working conditions for educators and school staff. Chicago, like many communities across the country, has endured the consequences of an underfunded public school system that is not meeting the basic needs of its students and educators.
CTU educators and SEIU 73 members are speaking out so that all students, regardless of geography or demography, can receive the care and services that they need. They are fighting for a fair contract that ensures adequate staffing, including a nurse, teacher librarian, and social worker in every school. They are advocating for class-size caps in their classrooms and for living wages for the dedicated teaching assistants, paraprofessionals, and school clerks who work hard to ensure that Chicago Public Schools students receive the support that they deserve.
It is urgent that elected officials across the country listen and respond to the growing number of voices calling for a more equitable public school system. Here in Boston, we uplift the bold leadership of public school educators, students, and parents in Chicago. We echo their call for Mayor Lori Lightfoot to put an education equity plan into writing with an enforceable contract. We are grateful for the contributions CTU and SEIU 73 are making to a nationwide grassroots movement that insists on educators and students’ rights to the equitably funded public schools that we all deserve.”
– Jessica Tang, President, Boston Teachers Union
Fox Elementary (Michigan)
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT, Local 3)
I am a school psychologist with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT, Local 3) and I stand with my union brothers and sisters in Chicago who are on strike. Your insistence on the District providing the necessary supports and conditions that are essential to your students’ learning is a model to us here in Philadelphia! I will be contributing to your strike fund. Solidarity Forever
74th Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles
CTU Brothers and Sisters,
Just a quick message of support from the teaching staff at 74th Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles. You stood with us during the UTLA strike in January of this year, now we stand in solidarity beside you. Don’t give up the fight because, as educators…
When WE fight, WE win!
Take good care and stay #CTUSTRONG on the line,
74th Street ES Teachers
Dallas AFL-CIO Central Labor Council
Dallas AFL-CIO Central Labor Council voted unanimously to send our message of solidarity with Chicago Teachers Strike.
Gene Lantz, Communications Director
Dr. Tanya Foster-DeMers
October 18, 2019
Letter in Support of CTU 2019 Strike
My first and most important email of today was a strike update from The Chicago Teachers Union with the most amazing pictures from throughout the city. Anxiously I viewed the pictures searching for familiar faces and reflecting on why my former colleagues were forced to the point of a work stoppage. My many memories of the last strike in 2012 flooded my mind as I was the CTU Delegate for my school. My role was to ensure that there was coordination and dissemination of the relevant information. I can still remember the coldness of some of the days surrounded by the warmth of support from the city. You could feel the love and appreciation in the air.
Viewing the strike 2019 pictures also reminded me of my sense of loss and how much I really miss teaching, my colleagues, the sense of comradery, and most importantly my health. I wanted so badly to visit my colleagues on day one of the strike, but I was sick. In 2017 after many years of undiagnosed illnesses, deteriorating health and becoming progressively worse, it was discovered that I was teaching in a building which had a known roofing issue, water damage, and visible mold. Unfortunately for me, when this was discovered, I was already damaged beyond repair. Multiple health systems have failed, and I have been diagnosed with well over five serious illnesses, and the most debilitating one has no cure. There is basically only supportive care for me at this point. Life as I knew it gone, forever changed. This is my third school year away from what I love, teaching, children and working with parents. The first school year was filled with disbelief, extreme sickness, tears, and grief. The second school year was spent researching the long list of diseases and what could be done to make life somewhat bearable. The damage to my body is beyond belief, brain function, memory, were the most shocking. I finally understood why at the end of the school day, I could look at my kindergarten students and not recall their names. At dismissal my babies and colleagues would help me to recall the names of my students.
My employment contract specially outlined that I should have worked in a facility that was maintained and clean however this wasn’t the case, even when the conditions were brought to leadership. The conditions were ignored and the price for me has been unimaginable. I am all too familiar with the conditions of unsound and unsafe class sizes, lack or resources such as nurses, counselors, therapist, social workers, and overall poor teaching and learning conditions of CPS. I worked in the Austin community and my students lived in one of the most crime filled areas of the city; a life of trauma was the norm. My students were extremely vulnerable and not having adequate social workers and services added insult to injury.
My story highlights the need for strong contract language which explicitly states what the conditions should be. My contract stated that I should work in a clean and safe environment and this still was a challenge for CPS. We can only image the dire consequences of not having in writing what the conditions should be in Chicago Public Schools regarding children who can’t, nor should they need to, advocate for themselves. Someone must take the responsibility and demand what is in the best interest of the students of the City of Chicago. Chicago Public Schools has historically and repeatedly made it abundantly clear that they are unwilling or not in a position to do so.
Dr. Tanya Foster-DeMers
Filipino community organizations
Filipino community organizations are in solidarity with CTU Teachers and Staff. See you at picket lines at Lane Tech and Roosevelt High School. See you at 1:30PM rally.
PSJA AFT Executive Board
To whom it may concern,
I am an executive board member of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo AFT in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and we have written a statement of support for CTU that we would like to share with you.
The Chicago Teachers Union has been a North Star for educators and workers across the nation and world fighting for a more just society. From the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo AFT stands in solidarity with your struggle to ensure high-quality schools, equitable & caring communities, and for the good & welfare of your members.
PSJA AFT Executive Board
The Campus Faculty Association at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign expresses its strong solidarity with the Chicago Teachers’ Union in their historic strike for educational equity in the city’s public schools. At a moment of widespread privatization, CTU has been exemplary in defending the ideal of excellent neighborhood schools, demanding smaller class sizes and nurses, social workers, and libraries throughout the CPS system. At the same time, the teachers have wisely cast their lot with members of the Service Employees Union which includes many of the lowest paid workers in the system. This has brought them strong support not only from unions and educational experts throughout the US, but more importantly, from students and parents in Chicago’s public schools. We wish you quick success in this vital struggle for greater educational democracy.
Executive Committee, Campus Faculty Association,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Legal Workers Rank and File
Legal Workers Rank and File stands in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73 in their strike to win better schools for all Chicago students. We are inspired by their willingness to strike not just for wages, but for enforceable contract language on lower class sizes, more counselors, a nurse for every school and housing help for student and employees alike. We appreciate the hard work it takes to coordinate demands and strategy between different unions with different memberships and issues, and we applaud the solidarity on display at the bargaining table and on the streets of Chicago today.
CTU and SEIU Local 73 are fighting for the future of public education and for all of working class Chicago. We encourage those who support their fight to sign on to the solidarity statement and we advocate for our own unions to provide political and material support to our brothers and sisters in Chicago who are leading the way.
The Legal Workers Rank and File is a cross-union, multi-employer organization of legal service workers in NYC. We are committed to rebuilding and revitalizing a militant labor movement across the legal services industry to defend and advance the interests of our communities.
Member of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers (AFT Local 2279)
Subject: I stand with the CTU
My grandmother taught in the Chicago Public School system. My mother taught first grade at Whistler Elementary School for over 30 years. Most of the adults I knew growing up on the South Side were teachers or principals in the Chicago public schools. I remember growing up and helping my mother grade papers and make posters for her classroom, and going with her to buy supplies out of her own money for her students. I also remember the strikes of the mid-1980’s, and how the Board refused to offer teachers more than a single-year contract while a rotating cast of superintendents got paid to “fix” the schools, that somehow never benefited from consistent leadership. I remember that the teachers were the only once standing up not just for each other but for their students, and their right to an education.
As the daughter and granddaughter of teachers, a community college librarian, and a member of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers (AFT Local 2279), I stand with the members of the Chicago Teachers Union in their fight to redirect the city’s priorities in the right direction: to the students who deserve equity and justice in education.
Alpha Lambda Alumnae Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority
October 17, 2019
The Alpha Lambda Alumnae Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated stands in solidarity with more than 30,000 workers as they begin their strike for better working conditions and quality education for their students.
We stand strong with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, as our members are also educators, teachers, teacher aids, special education classroom assistants, bus aides, custodians, school security officers, counselors, paraprofessionals, clerks, staff and more at Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Many of our members are also former CPS students themselves, who would not be where they are today if it were not for the support of their incredible teachers and staff. While it is the CPS employees out there in the streets today fighting for the improvement that our education system deserves, it will be our community who will reap the benefits of their hard work and dedication, so we must stand alongside them in support.
Teachers and other CPS employees are fighting, not only for fair salaries, but for their students and their families. In order to educate our next generation of leaders they must have smaller class sizes, more social workers and nurses, as well as affordable housing and sanctuary schools for them now. These demands are essential for the success of our students, which is why we will continue to stand with them at the picket lines and beyond.
You can help by letting teachers and staff affected know that you support them by providing water to protestors, marching alongside them and better informing your community of what is going on. Most importantly you can contact Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at 312-744-3300 and ask for a fair contract for our CPS teachers and workers. We can do better for them, for the students and their families, and we hope that they get the respect, working conditions and support from the city they rightfully deserve.
Alpha Lambda Alumnae Chapter
Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated
UFT/AFT Local 2
Good morning and Solidarity to the picket lines in Chicago!
Our local passed a solidarity resolution with the strike at our delegate assembly last night.
However, our leadership has stated that they haven’t received requests for solidarity beyond resolutions. Our rank and filers are eager to do actions like wearing #RedForEd.
Does the request for “statements of solidarity” include wearing red like the teachers at this Brooklyn school did this morning?
What are the other formal requests for other locals for solidarity? Do you want folks doing rallies, press conferences, etc?
Best wishes for the strike – we are all there in solidarity with you.
Gregorio Luperon High School
UFT/AFT Local 2
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.
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.
Our podcast, CTU Speaks! is hosted by Andrea Parker and Jim Staros. We’ll chat about our union, enforcing our contract, and our fight for the schools our students and educators deserve.