CHICAGO, Oct. 27, 2019—CTU President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement Sunday evening, as CPS CEO Janice Jackson made her first appearance at the bargaining table.
Right now at the bargaining table, CPS is refusing to invest barely half of one percent of its annual budget to give our students the equity and educational justice they were promised. Amazon was set to get billions of dollars in public subsidies from the city. Lincoln Yards and the 78 got billions of public dollars to bankroll their new neighborhoods for rich people—dollars that should have gone to our schools. But CPS has yet to yield to provide a paltry fraction of those funds to support what our students need.
CPS has $38 million to settle a contract in one of the richest cities in the richest countries in the world. Yet today, their misplaced priorities will put us on the picket lines again tomorrow.
We have been attempting to bargain with CPS for ten months for the equity and educational justice our students were promised. It took a strike to get the mayor and CPS to just to trade proposals to bring down exploding class sizes and alleviate desperate shortages of school nurses, social workers, counselors, librarians and more. We shouldn’t have to work this hard—and we shouldn’t have to strike—to get our students what they deserve.
In 1995, the Illinois legislature gave total power and control of CPS to the mayor of Chicago, forcing us to jump through insane obstacles to get to an agreement, from super majorities to authorize a strike to constant obstacles just to bargain to get a nurse in school every day. No other teacher or school worker in any other school district in the state confronts this kind of obstruction. Mayoral control is a failure, and it’s time for it to end—as the current mayor promised it would before she put a brick on that legislation in the State Senate.
We’re not yielding on our demands for equity and educational justice—and CPS has a path on the table right now to make a real downpayment on those promises. Let’s get it done.