CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today issued a 10-day notice of intent to strike to the Chicago Board of Education, following the passage of a resolution at the Union’s Sept. 28 House of Delegates meeting. Rank-and-file CTU leadership voted overwhelmingly last night that the Union will go on strike Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, if no contract agreement is reached by then. The resolution passed by the 800-member representative body follows last week’s citywide strike vote in which, based on a 90.6 percent turnout among eligible voting members, 95.6 percent of votes cast voted in favor to strike.
For years, the city of Chicago has diverted funds from education to pay for other pet projects, which has broken the district financially and robbed schools of much-needed programs and resources. The latest contract proposal from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked Board of Education is just more of the same—$100 million in layoffs and budget cuts, cuts to pensions, the loss of steps-and-lanes, increased health care costs and the continuation of a longer school day.
“Teachers already struggle to make ends meet, and go above and beyond by doing things like paying for classroom supplies out of pocket, so they sacrifice daily to protect their students and classrooms,” CTU President Karen Lewis said. “It’s time for the people who say they care about education, and who helped create these problems, to fund our schools and propose solutions which don’t hurt our kids even more.”
The resolution passed reads as follows:
WHEREAS, the Chicago Teachers Union (“CTU”) has been negotiating with the Chicago Board of Education (“CBOE”) since November 2014 over the terms of a new labor contract and has been unable to achieve an agreement; and
WHEREAS, the CBOE has impaired the rights of CTU-represented employees by committing unfair labor practices; and
WHEREAS, CTU members have overwhelmingly voted twice to authorize the CTU to call a strike on such dates as may be determined by this House of Delegates; and
WHEREAS, CTU Constitution, Article VI Section 1, directs this House of Delegates to determine the actual date of a strike; and
WHEREAS, Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, Section 13(b)(3) requires at least 10 days have elapsed after a notice of intent to strike has been given by the CTU, before a strike can occur; therefore be it
RESOLVED that a strike shall commence on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2016, and successive days thereafter, if no tentative agreement on a new labor contract can be achieved. The CTU shall serve the appropriate notices to effectuate that strike date.
CTU members have worked without a contract for nearly 500 days as the Board of Education has intentionally stalled labor talks and rejected all contract proposals—including those with no costs associated with them. The district’s latest round of budget cuts could lead to 300 teacher and support staff layoffs amidst failed privatization efforts and reduction in special education programs, librarians, counselors, social workers and teachers’ aides.
Negotiations continue today between the CTU and the Board of Ed.