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  • 6:30 a.m. TODAY, Monday, Oct. 12: Picket lines go up at 500+ Chicago public schools
    SEE BELOW for full schedule/locations/times

Sticking points include enforceable class size limits, ramp to adequate staffing of school nurses, social workers, more, raising teaching assistants out of poverty. Link to bargaining update livestream.

CHICAGO—Solidarity actions are growing for 25,000 striking CTU educators and frontline staff who are attempting to bargain a fair contract that addresses student needs.

Today’s NOON press availability with bargaining team members will highlight CPS’ refusal so far to ensure that low-income students have the opportunity to participate in robust athletic programs, which give kids a critical alternative to the streets, and help them build their social/emotional and leadership skills. CPS chronically underfunds student sports, including league sports, and fails to fund girls’ athletics equitably.

Today’s 1PM Raise Chicago Coalition action is designed to lift up the need to raise the wage floor for school workers who live in poverty, and press CPS to tackle chronic classroom overcrowding and desperate staff shortages in schools. CTU teaching assistants can make as little as $28,000/year after five years of CPS employment, pushing them out of the ability to afford the prevailing apartment rental rate for EVERY zip code in Chicago.

SEIU Local 73 is battling to raise the wage floor for their workers, as well, with bus aides who work two split shifts each day—making holding a second job to augment those poverty wages that much more difficult—earning an average wage of $15,759/year.

35 aldermen have signed onto a resolution calling for hearings into severe classroom overcrowding and staffing shortages and calling on the mayor to settle a fair contract with the CTU and SEIU Local 73.

Bargaining begins Monday at 9:30 a.m. at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson.

Today’s schedule: Monday, Oct. 21

  • 6:30 a.m.: picket lines go up at all CPS schools
    • Citywide social workers, school nurses, clinicians: CPS HQ, 42 W. Madison, Chicago
  • 7:00 a.m.: CTU President Jesse Sharkey, Gray Elementary, 3730 N. Laramie
  • 7:30 a.m./SPANISH LANGUAGE: CTU officer Maria Moreno, Curie High School, 4959 S. Archer Ave.
  • 7:30 a.m.: CTU officer Christel Williams Hayes, Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams
  • 8 – 9 a.m.: CTU and SEIU strikers will line Pulaski from Archer to 111th St.
  • 8:45 – 10:00 a.m.: Hyde Park “Nurse in Every School” Solidarity March for Justice. Destination: 9:40 a.m. rally at Kenwood Academy HS, 5015 S. Blackstone
  • 10 a.m.: VOYCE—Voices of Youth in Chicago Education—press conference demanding smaller classes, social worker/nurse/librarian in every school. CPS HQ, 42 W Madison
  • NOON bargaining update with athletic coaches, bargaining team members on demands to adequately fund student sports. more: Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson
  • 1:00 p.m.: Raise Chicago Coalition, youth-led action highlighting need for $15/hr AND fair contract that addresses overcrowded classrooms, lack of affordable housing for students, families, more. City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.
  • 2 – 3:30 p.m.: Strikers’ rally/march, Union Park, 1501 W Randolph St, Chicago. Line of march includes tour of west side TIFs highlighting $$$ Sterling Bay. other wealthy companies have taken from our communities and schools.

Fast facts:

  • CPS is receiving over $1 billion a year in additional revenue via the State’s new equity-based school funding formula to reign in ballooning class sizes, support students in poverty and increase services to special education students and English language learners.
  • CPS passed the largest budget in its history this year: $7.7 billion. Yet CPS cut the amount of dollars it is spending in school communities this year.
  • CPS cut the budgets of more than 200 CPS schools by at least $100,000, and cut the budgets of more than 40 schools by more than half a million dollars for this school year.
  • CTU educators are fighting for better wages, smaller class sizes, adequate staffing, and educational justice for students and their families. They want the additional state revenue CPS receives to increase equity to go to school communities and student needs.
  • CPS is desperately short of school nurses, social workers, librarians, special education teachers, ELL teachers and more. CPS has staffing ratios three to five times higher than those recommended by national professional organizations and best practices.
  • Fewer than 115 school nurses serve over 500 schools. Most schools have a nurse only one day a week. One out of four schools has a librarian—and that number falls to barely one in ten for Black-majority schools. A decade ago, most schools had a librarian.
  • CPS is under the oversight of a state monitor for shortchanging its diverse learners.
  • This year, more than 1,300 CPS classes are overcrowded under CPS’ own high class caps, up from more than a thousand overcrowded classrooms last year.
  • More than 20% of elementary students attend overcrowded classes, with some kindergarten classes topping 40 students. Roughly 35% of high school students are enrolled in overcrowded classes.
  • Candidate Lightfoot ran on a platform calling for equity and educational justice—including a nurse, a social worker and a librarian in every school—all proposals her negotiating team rejected at the table until the strike began. She also ran in support of an elected, representative school board—but stalled that legislation in the Illinois Senate.
  • CPS has yet to propose adequate language on staffing needs and class size caps. The union wants those promises in writing, in an enforceable contract—the only way we have to hold CPS and the 5th floor to their promises.
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.