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  • City Club of Chicago speech: 11:30 a.m. TODAY, Thursday, April 25
    Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 W. Grand Ave., Chicago

CTU President Jesse Sharkey to address City Club today

CTU charter educators to announce first multi-employer strike against operators in U.S. history as union bargains with CPS for new contract for over 20,000 workers.

CHICAGO—CTU President Jesse Sharkey will address the City Club of Chicago today, the first time he has addressed the group in his role as president of the union. Sharkey formally replaced the union’s iconic leader Karen Lewis after she retired last summer. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. April 25 at Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 W. Grand Ave. in Chicago.

Later this afternoon, CTU ACTS charter educators will join City College of Chicago clerks and technical workers in AFT/IFT Local 1708 at 4:30 p.m. at the Arturo Velazquez Westside Technical Institute at 2800 S. Western Ave., where both groups will announce strike dates. CTU charter members have struck two charter operators this school year, including UNO/Acero in December—the first strike of a charter operator in U.S. history. The prospective strike would be the first in the nation simultaneously targeting multiple employers.

The CTU is also bargaining a new contract for more than 20,000 educators and support staff in over 500 public schools. The Union submitted its formal bargaining demands to CPS in January. The current contract expires in June. Educators are demanding smaller class sizes, adequate staffing of positions such as school nurses, counselors, librarians and restorative justice coordinators, equitable funding for critical school needs and improved wages and benefits.

The CTU’s unionized charter workers are fighting to reform the entire charter industry—an industry which chronically undercuts investment in academic programs and student supports and low balls wages, while expanding bloated bureaucracies, inflating executive salaries and shunting education dollars into high management fees.

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot and a slew of successful aldermanic candidates won on platforms that embraced the CTU’s demands for equitable funding for schools, better working conditions for teachers and support staff, educational justice for students, and an elected representative school board.