The Chicago Teachers Union said its members voted to accept a tentative contract agreement but it won’t end the strike until Mayor Lori Lightfoot agrees to make up for the 10 days of lost instruction time.

“We have a tentative agreement but we do not have a return to work agreement,” the union said on Twitter Wednesday. “So, we will be at City Hall at 10 a.m. to demand the mayor return our days.”
Chicago Public Schools announced that classes would be closed on Thursday.

Jesse Sharkey, CTU president, said the union is willing to go back to work as soon as Lightfoot agrees to their demand.

“Our delegates told us, in no uncertain terms, they are not going back to work unless there is a provision made for making up the instructional days that have been lost over the past 10 days,” he said. “Our members want to return to work. Everyone was clear about that.”

He said those instructional days are important as students need to take certain benchmark tests.
Lightfoot said she was “gravely disappointed” that the CTU is continuing with the strike.

“Here we are after students have missed 10 days of class and the CTU leadership has chosen to throw a curveball into the process instead of saying yes to their victory for their members and for our students,” she said in a press conference.

She called the agreement a “historic deal by any measure” as they acquiesced too many of the union’s demands because both the teachers and students “deserve nothing less.”

The deal the union agreed to includes the addition of a nurse and social worker at every school as well as an assortment of other staff such as special education case managers and homeless coordinators. It also includes $35 million to reduce class sizes and a 16 percent salary increase over the next five years.

Lightfoot called it the “most generous deal” Chicago Public Schools has ever offered the CTU and by continuing the strike, the union was moving “the goalposts” as it never mentioned during the course of negotiations the issue of recouping instructional days lost due to the strike.

“I’ve been clear since Day One that CPS would not make up any strike days,” she said. “And at this late hour, we are not adding any new issues.”

She blamed the Union for the strike’s continuation, stating, “make no mistake about it: The fact that our children are not back at school tomorrow is on them.”

Sharkey said they will gladly return to classes tomorrow if only she would agree to their final demand.
“If the mayor calls and I take the call and she says we have an agreement on that, we’ll be back at work tomorrow,” he said. “If she does not call, then we’re continuing to be on strike tomorrow.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.