You can watch the video of our bargaining update press conference in this page or on Facebook (you don’t need an account). We apologize for the sound quality, due to technical difficulties. We have a fix for future streams.
Demand to end strike without a contract halts negotiations
After two days of striking, our bargaining team was beginning to see glimmers of progress on issues that matter to our members. Today, on day three, that progress stopped dead. It was clear from the mayor’s letter to the press demanding members go back to work without a contract and from the sudden atmosphere of stonewalling from the CPS team, that the mayor had pulled the plug on negotiations. The CPS team scheduled to negotiate with bus drivers in SEIU 73 spent exactly 12 minutes at the bargaining table. These vindictive actions have served to halt the real progress that the negotiating teams were making toward resolution of the contract.
To reiterate, after only two days of striking, the teams achieved tentative agreements on staffing to support homeless students, on staffing for Pre-Kindergarten classrooms and naps for those young students, on letting counselors work with children instead of random assignments like substitute teaching. We won an extension of the charter moratorium and support for programs to address the teacher shortage, especially among teachers of color. For the ten months before the strike, the CPS bargaining team refused to make any offer on these important issues. Only the strike made these achievements possible.
But on Monday morning, the mayor’s team said that there was no more money in the budget to address the many outstanding demands that are necessary to deliver justice for our school communities. Of course, we know that the CPS budget has more than $1 billion of additional funds from the state of Illinois to address these school needs. Because of the mayor’s actions, the strike is heading into a new phase that will require a new set of tactics to get bargaining moving again.
As an example of the inadequacy of the CPS offer so far, less than 20 percent of oversized classes would be addressed by their proposal and only in grades K-3 in the worst-off schools. Further, zero percent of oversized classes at the high school level would get relief. And, they provided no money in their offer to address oversized classes beyond the first year of the contract. While the offer does include some additional staffing, particularly nurses and social workers, the staffing offer would not provide additional counselors or librarians.
Tomorrow, the rank-and-file members of the bargaining team will not return to the table. They won’t waste their time trying to talk to a brick wall. Instead, they will head back to the picket lines to report to their coworkers and build the kind of solidarity that has already led to progress toward a fair contract. The mayor has embarked on a dangerous path. Our union will stand strong for the resources, the protections and the respect that our students and members deserve.
Tuesday | 6:30am pickets, 12:30pm at Dyett HS
Continue to picket at your school or CPS headquarters from 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. School pickets are especially important as we fight back against the mayor’s recent stonewalling.
CTU has been bargaining to continue and expand the sustainable community schools program that has benefited 20 schools this year. The district has not been responsive to those demands in bargaining. Dyett HS (555 East 51st St.) has been a flashpoint in demands for schools led by the community with the kind of wraparound services we all need. The Dyett hunger strikers spent 30 days without food to bring attention to these needs, so Dyett holds special significance in this fight. Let’s unite for what our schools need. See you at 12:30.
Allied Actions Tuesday
Pilsen School March
2410 S. Leavitt at 8am.
In solidarity with Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU 73, Pilsen Teachers and residents will march through Pilsen demanding the schools our students deserve. Stop starving our schools. Invest in our schools and support the needs of our school communities. The march will begin at Finkl Elementary and unite with school picket lines along the route.
Logan Square Rally
3200 W. Logan Blvd at 9:30am
We love our Logan Square teachers and school staff and want to say thank you for putting in all on the line. Featuring Rachel Johnson, the teacher whose Lizzo cover has gone viral: “Just took a DNA test and I’m 100% on strike”. Join students, parents, teachers, and community for a rally for the school funding our kids deserve! Hot chocolate! Group Caballo Dorado dance! Mexican folkloric performance! And more.
Triton Community College Action
2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL at 12pm
For Triton workers, this will be the first time they have come close to a strike, they are just being introduced to this type of Union militancy. It will be a great opportunity to show them how a picket line will run, and give them a real morale boost! If they see all there Union siblings standing with them, it will reinforce a sense of true solidarity.
Solidarity with AFSCME Local 1989 NEIU
5500 N St. Louis Ave. at 2pm
Members of Local 1989 without a contract for 450 days and want to show NEIU that staff matter. Meeting at the Village Square (aka middle of campus).
CTU/SEIU Strike Escuelita: What the Media Isn’t Saying.
1624 S. Allport at 6pm
The media has been spreading the mayor’s inaccurate and offensive rhetoric. Our gente deserve to know the truth. Mijente x CTU Latinx Caucus present La Escuelita to educate our Latinx communities on the real issues teachers and staff are on strike. Come and listen to what the media isn’t sharing: real life experiences from teachers, staff, and parents. CTU Latinx will set the record straight about contract negotiations and their current status. Elected officials Alderman Byron Sigcho-López and Commissioner Alma Anaya will be in attendance in support of Chicago public teachers and staff.
Wednesday Morning: United Escalation
These past few days, schools near one another have planned brilliant actions like lining seven miles of road, taking over bridges, and joining with other unions to march for adequate nurse staffing. Initiatives like these come from the heart of our union—the rank-and-file. On Wednesday morning, though, we’re planning big, united actions (details TBA). So, please refrain from organizing any of these activities for that morning. Still, keep uniting, strategizing, and producing imaginative displays, signs, dances and song parodies. Your creative spirit will keep our fight strong.