• 6:30 a.m. TODAY, Tuesday, Oct. 22: Picket lines go up at 500+ Chicago public schools
    SEE BELOW for full schedule/locations/times

Mayor blocks any additional movement at table, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, AFT President Randi Weingarten come to support strikers and Passages Charter begins strike. Link to bargaining update livestream.

CHICAGO—After four days of progress at the bargaining table, Mayor Lightfoot announced by letter on Monday that she was, essentially, done negotiating. Although bargaining meetings will continue Tuesday between CPS and CTU, most of the union bargaining team will return to bolster their home picket lines.

CTU educators at Passages Charter School are hitting picket lines in a strike, as well, joining the CPS strikers in a battle for more wrap-around supports for the school’s overwhelmingly immigrant and refugee students, and better wages and working conditions for educators. Passages is run by Asian Human Services—AHS—who’s CEO Craig Maki is paid as much to run one charter school as the CEO of CPS makes to run more than 500.

The distorted priorities at Passages are emblematic of problems that plague the charter industry, where bloated bureaucracies and inflated executive salaries are paid for by lowballing wages for educators and starving classrooms. AHS is among the management entities that take a cut of the public education dollars handed over to charter operators. This system allows charter management to siphon off as much as 25% or more of the public dollars a charter operator receives to educate children for ‘management fees’ and executives pay instead.

Passages educators are fighting for living wages, decent working conditions and wrap-around supports and classroom resources for their predominantly immigrant and refugee students. The management of AHS, which holds the charter for Passages and manages the school, refused to enshrine even basic sanctuary protections into contract language until workers set a strike date. Passages workers make, on average, 25% less than the base wage of new CPS teachers, and short staffing and poor working conditions drive high staff turnover and instability in the school community.

Bargaining for CPS district schools begins at 10 a.m. at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson.

Today’s schedule: Tuesday, Oct. 22

  • 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, Passages Charter School, 1643 W Bryn Mawr. This charter will be on strike beginning today.
  • 7:30 a.m./SPANISH LANGUAGE: CTU officer Maria Moreno, Ruiz Elementary, 2410 S Leavitt St.; march to a number of schools in the Pilsen community.
  • 9:30 a.m./BILINGUAL ACTION – “Thank You, Teachers – This Is Our Time!”: Logan Square Neighbors Association, 500+ parents, students, teachers and community leaders with Mexican folkloric dance, a group Bavallo Dorado dance, and a song by Rachel Brown, the teacher whose Lizzo cover has gone viral.
  • 10 a.m.: Presidential Candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren, AFT President Randi Weingarten and CTU President Jesse Sharkey. Oscar Depriest Elementary, 139 S Parkside Ave. at Central & W. Adams St, in mass picket with West Side Schools.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Mass rally, Dyett High School (gathering at north end of Washington Park) 555 E. 51st St, Chicago.

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. On October 21, Mayor Lightfoot told the CTU in a letter that there would not be an additional penny forthcoming to address school needs beyond the woefully inadequate current ‘offers’ from her bargaining team.
  • 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.