Red Star Strike Update: Day 3

Red Star Strike Update: Day 3

The third day of the strike saw CTU, SEIU Local 73, and community members brave the rain to continue demonstrating solidarity and demanding a better future for Chicago. Picketers kept up their energy with chants, music, and even salsa. Thousands turned out to an afternoon rally in Union Park.

Mayor Lightfoot sent a letter to Jesse Sharkey, asking CTU to return to work without a contract, while negotiations continue. The letter outlines ways in which the strike has negatively impacted CPS students and seeks to point the finger at CTU. Blame for any suffering or hardship incurred due to the strike lies squarely with the mayor and CPS, however. CTU made its contract demands clear in May; CPS negotiators refused to discuss class-size, staffing, and affordable housing until after 94 percent of teachers authorized a strike. Had the city chosen to take CTU’s demands seriously five months ago, a strike could have been averted.

The letter and the concessions made by CPS show that the city is feeling the pressure. As the strike continues it is imperative that we seize the opportunity to help CTU and SEIU 73 lay bare the true sources of conflict and inequity in Chicago. This strike is a momentous opportunity to galvanize working-class consciousness and demand change.


  • CTU reportedly made progress on contract language that would add staff to meet the needs of homeless students, ensure counselors cannot be forced to serve as substitute teachers, and enshrine a 10:1 student-teacher ratio for preschool classes, the level that is actually required by state law. The school board is still unwilling to meet their proposal on class size limitations, as well as other contract demands. CTU will return to the picket line on Tuesday.

  • SEIU Local 73 said in a press conference that the city’s negotiating team did not make any new proposals, and actually departed from the bargaining table after just twelve minutes. SEIU Local 73 has continued to stand strong and vow that there will be no contract until the school board meets both their demands and those of the CTU. SEIU 73 will return to the picket line on Tuesday.


The two main things you can do to offer physical support, if you can, are to walk the picket line and to volunteer with Bread for Ed. If you’re unable to join us early in the morning, there are other solidarity events taking place throughout the day.

Picket Lines

Picket lines will run from 6:30am to 10:30am every day the strike continues. Check out to learn more.

The DSA has established pickets, led by Labor Branch strike captains, at these 11 schools:

  • Eugene Field Elementary School (7019 N Ashland Blvd, Rogers Park)

  • Hibbard Elementary School (3244 W Ainslie St, Albany Park)

  • Hyde Park Academy High School (6220 S Stony Island Ave, Hyde Park)

  • John A Walsh Public School (2015 S Peoria St, Pilsen)

  • Jones College Prep (700 S State St, Loop)

  • Linne Elementary School (3221 N Sacramento Ave, Avondale)

  • McClellan Elementary School (3527 S Wallace St, Bridgeport)

  • Ogden International School of Chicago (1250 W Erie St, West Town)

  • Richard Yates Elementary School (1839 N Richmond St, Logan Square)

  • Swift Elementary Specialty School (5900 N Winthrop Ave, Edgewater)

  • Willa Cather Elementary School (2908 W Washington Blvd, East Garfield Park)



  • Protest for Elected School Board: Workers at the Ogden High School organized a protest at state senator John Cullerton’s office (1726 W Belmont) at 11 am in support an elected, representative school board.

  • CTU Rally: The CTU will rally at Dyett High School (555 E 51st St) at 12:30pm



Bread for Ed will be making and distributing food at various areas around the city, so if you have time and resources to help with preparation and/or distribution, please email Please consider helping out with coordination or distribution, as the material needs of students and striking workers will only escalate the longer it continues.

Locations that will be distributing food tomorrow include:

  • DuBois Elementary School: 6:30am-10am (330 E 133rd St.)

  • UN35: 11am-3pm (2934 N Milwaukee Ave, Unit C)

  • Daley Branch Library: 11am-2pm (3400 S Halsted St)

  • 33rd Ward Working Families 11am-1pm (3248 W Montrose)


From the start, the CTU and SEIU have been vocal about tying the material realities of their jobs and the conditions in CPS schools to policy decisions made by previous city and state administrations. Lori Lightfoot’s campaign platform included education reform, yet her team’s stance at the bargaining table has been to ignore CTU’s demands. Lightfoot, herself, has not attended a bargaining session. The mayor has stated, “We’re not moving any further on money because we can’t.” This framing is deceitful. First, it ignores the direct reality of the $1 billion apportioned to CPS by the state of Illinois. Not only is there money in the budget, it was money directly issued to improve CPS, and should be devoted to sufficient staffing and fixing inadequate conditions.

Another duplicitous framing of this statement is that the city has money to devote to projects such as Lincoln Yards, whose developer, Sterling Bay, hosted a block party on Saturday, October 19. Lincoln Yards receives $1 billion in TIF funding that could be instead put toward any other genuine community-building project in the city—like schools. CPS workers, accompanied by DSA members and other community activists, protested the block party, explicitly connecting TIF subsidies lavished on real-estate developments to a manufactured budget deficit. As Lightfoot put it in her education platform linked above:

“The fact that the city has declared more than $1.2 billion in TIF surpluses since 2010 strongly suggests that some TIF districts do not need revenues for economic development and that properties should be released from TIF districts so their equalized assessed values can be returned to the general tax base. Closing districts and releasing properties will provide more funds and budget certainty for CPS.”

The Red Star Bulletin was conceived by Ramsin Canon and is a project of the Political Education & Policy Committee. This update was drafted by CDSA members. Special contributions were made by Devin Schiff and Nick Hussong. Graphics were contributed by Patrick O’Connell. If you would like to contribute to the Red Star Bulletin or have any feedback, email