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Dear Sisters and Brothers of CTU-ACTS,

Our members at Acero (formerly scandal-prone UNO) have voted 98% in favor of authorizing a strike and set a date for December 4th! Our members at CICS schools also voted to authorize a strike by 96%! We have not announced a date there. That means two-thirds of our thousand members are threatening a first-ever strike in the charter industry. We will not let management greed deprive our students of special education services, fully-staffed classrooms, and educators with sustainable careers.

CTU educators at UNO/Acero set strike date of December 12.After years of work to line up our contracts, unite with our sisters and brothers in the CTU, and focus our collective power, we are on the verge of a historic shift in power in charter schools away from the operators and toward those of us who do the work and care for students. We are united as public educators in charter schools, and we will use our power to force charter operators to put the public interest of our students ahead of their private interests as businesses.

Our bosses have pocketed two significant funding increases over the past two years, but they need to be forced into spending those funds in our classrooms. The charter industry clearly has a vision of keeping educational tax dollars in the pockets of management, while spending the least possible on staffing and salaries.

But we have a different vision–one in which educators are empowered to shape school policies, and resources are focused on the classroom, improving learning conditions and working conditions that foster sustainable schools and optimal student outcomes. We have aligned our contracts, our strategy, and our collective action, and now we are about to make history

We have ambitious demands, but they are reasonable and they will make our schools even better. But our employers have used the last two funding increases to bloat administrative staff and overpay them. How do we force them to fire unnecessary administrators in corporate headquarters in order to hire critical special education staff? How do we force CEOs making a quarter of a million dollars to take a haircut so that jobs in our schools are sustainable and we don’t have to staff our classrooms with substitutes? The answer is that we need to be ready to strike. And we are ready!

On December 4th, half of CTU-ACTS members may be shutting down 15 of our schools in order to transform the charter model into one in which our students and our classrooms are the priority, in which our neediest students get the services they deserve, and in which our jobs are sustainable.

Please send me your #Red4Ed pictures and get ready to hit the streets, whether picketing at your own school or visiting one of our lines before/after school. And check out some of the news coverage below — we are making history, because our students deserve the best!

In Solidarity,
Chris Baehrend, Division Chair
CTU-ACTS, Chicago Teachers Union

Some of our news coverage from this week: