7:00 p.m. Tuesday., Sept. 24: CTU/SEIU labor rally for fair contracts
CTU HQ, 1901 W. Carroll Ave., Chicago
CTU, SEIU Local 73 will be joined by UAW strikers, SEIU HCIL Mt. Sinai health workers, suburban teachers, grassroots groups to call for fair contracts that support the common good.
CHICAGO—U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will join the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 at a rally to support the struggle for equity and educational justice for CPS students and the workers who serve them. The rally will be held at 7PM on Tuesday, September 24, at the CTU’s Jackie Vaughn Hall, 1901 W. Carroll St. on Chicago’s West Side.
The CTU and SEIU Local 73 will also be joined by speakers from some of the region’s most hotly contested labor struggles, including Mount Sinai health workers with SEIU HCIL, striking UAW workers and teachers with Southwest Suburban Federation of Teachers
Local 943—which, like the CTU and Local 73, are poised to strike their schools, with more labor unions and grassroots community groups joining by the hour.
Senator Sanders has been a stalwart supporter of union workers and their right to strike when necessary for dignity and decent wages and working conditions. He has also championed quality health care for all, a key issue in bargaining for both the CTU and SEIU Local 73.
CTU members are voting next week to authorize a strike. Local 73 members have already voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against CPS. Both unions are demanding that the mayor put her campaign promises for equity and educational justice in writing in an enforceable contract—including living wages for workers at the bottom of CPS salary scales, thousands of whom earn wages so low their children are eligible for free and reduced lunches under federal poverty guidelines.
Lori Lightfoot successfully campaigned for mayor on a platform of equity and educational justice that closely mirrors the CTU’s contract demands, but has refused to put those promises in writing in an enforceable contract—the only mechanism workers have to force the 5th floor to keep its promises to students and families.
The need in schools is acute. CPS classrooms are routinely among the most overcrowded in the state, with classrooms across the city topping 40 students per class while more than 700 classrooms opened on September 3 without a permanent teacher. CPS provides only limited sanctuary protections for CPS’ Latinx and refugee students, who make up roughly half the student population. CPS is trying to force workers to shoulder skyrocketing health insurance costs, even though costs to the district have essentially been flat since 2014. Hundreds of schools confront a desperate shortage of school nurses, social workers, librarians and other critical frontline staff, denying the district’s overwhelmingly low-income Black and Brown students of basic supports that suburban schools routinely provide to students. And CPS has engaged in a pattern of charter expansion, school closures and other layoff policies that have purged over half the district’s veteran Black teachers from the district.
The CTU submitted proposals to CPS on January 15 to address these issues. Most have been rejected outright by Mayor Lightfoot’s bargaining team—the same team who bargained for Mayor Emanuel and Mayor Daley before him. CPS is seeking instead to claw back gains made by workers in previous contracts, ratchet up teachers’ unpaid labor, and gut worker rights.