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Charter operator fired three key rank-and-file bargaining team members, as workers prepared to ratify first contract to improve supports for special education, classroom resources.

  • 6:30 a.m. Wed., June 2: socially distanced press conference with parents, students, educators. Epic Academy, 8255 S. Houston Ave., Chicago.

CHICAGO — Educators at Epic Academy are considering a strike against the charter operator, after management suddenly fired four educators in the middle of a ratification vote on the school’s first contract.

Educators, parents and students will discuss next steps at an on-site, in-person, socially distanced press conference at 6:30 a.m. at the school, located at 8255 S. Houston on Chicago’s South Side.

Educators had landed a tentative agreement on a first contract in late May. During the union’s ratification process, Epic’s Executive Director LeeAndra Khan terminated four workers — including three on the negotiating committee. Epic’s executive director most recently worked as CEO of Chicago’s Civitas schools, a charter operator with a history of anti-union, anti-educator policies that provoked the longest charter strike in US history in February 2019.

Nearly every single educator has signed a petition to bring all four teachers back, and Epic’s rank-and-file have suspended their contract ratification until the issue is resolved, with options on the table ranging from filing an unfair labor practice charge to a strike. Students are demanding a meeting with management, and calling on them to reverse the terminations.

Educators at the charter school voted overwhelmingly to join the CTU last July, and CTU members have bargained four remote learning MOUs since, with the school scheduled to remain remote for the rest of this year.

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.