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Randi Weingarten, who heads up union of 1.7 million teachers and support staff, to join educators, allies to demand CPS parental leave that mirrors what mayor offered to City workers – but has now been indefinitely delayed for educators, support staff.

  • 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 17: Press conference to demand the mayor extend improved parental leave to ALL employees under her purview — including CPS employees. Prosser Career Academy, 2148 N Long Ave., Chicago
  • 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, January 18: CTU, aldermanic allies to deliver thousands of petition signatures calling on Lightfoot to reverse course and extend parental leave improvements to CPS employees. 5th Floor, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Chicago

CHICAGO — After Mayor Lightfoot announced a more humane parental leave policy for City workers this fall, CPS indicated that that improvement would be extended to CPS employees via the school board that the mayor controls. But in late December, the district reversed that position — and educators and their allies are fighting back.

As part of that pushback, AFT president Randi Weingarten, the elected national leader of more than 1.7 million educators across the country — including CTU members — will join educators and allies at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, to call on Lightfoot to reverse course and extend parental leave improvements to the people who educate and support Chicago’s public school students. Educators will hold the press conference at Prosser Career Academy, located at 2148 N Long Ave. in Chicago.

The CTU worked collaboratively with CPS on rolling out parallel policies for district workers — only to have the mayor’s CPS labor relations team backpedal in late December. The measure was expected to go before the mayor’s hand-picked board of education at their January 25 meeting. That move is now on hold indefinitely.

The CTU has collected thousands of signatures on a petition calling on Lightfoot to reverse course and extend improved parental leave to all of the city’s public employees — including teachers and support staff.

“A parental leave policy makes just as much sense for school workers as it does for city workers,” said CTU President Stacy Davis Gates. “While the city’s workforce is majority male, our workforce is majority female — nearly 80%. Why would the mayor refuse workers in a majority female profession a fair and equitable parental leave policy — especially as our district continues to have a tough time recruiting and retaining educators? It would seem like Mayor Lightfoot — a self proclaimed gladiator for women’s rights — would jump at creating a better and more fair paid parental leave policy that would be a model for the rest of our nation,” said CTU President Stacy Davis Gates.

Davis Gates — the mother of three CPS students — urged the mayor to proceed with extending city parental leave policy as originally planned to CPS employees. “The mayor’s reversal of the parental leave policy makes zero sense,” she said.

The mayor’s refusal to extend these benefits to CPS educators is part of a long-standing pattern of behavior by Lightfoot to attack union educators. Nearly 80 percent of CPS educators and support staff are women — and every CPS employee deserves access to this paid family leave. The majority of the developed world already offers 12 week parental leave as a recognition of this fundamental human right. The mayor and her CPS administrators are now delaying and denying benefits to CPS employees that were just granted to other city workers.

On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., the CTU will join aldermen and allies on the 5th floor of City Hall, located at 121 N. LaSalle, to deliver signed petitions demanding the mayor reverse course and extend parental leave to CPS employees.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.