Chicago Public Schools teachers and staff will return to the picket line on Monday, making this the longest teachers’ strike in the city since 1987. There were two days of solidarity actions over the weekend, including a rally at Union Park on Saturday and an event at the New Mt. Pilgrim Church on Sunday.
On Sunday evening, SEIU Local 73 reached a tentative agreement with the city. According to President Dian Palmer, the agreement includes raises for the lowest paid school support workers. They will be back on the picket lines on Monday in solidarity with CTU. As of this writing, negotiations for the CTU contract are ongoing. There’s been progress, but educators will continue to agitate for a fair contract.
- CPS CEO Janice Jackson joined the bargaining table for the first time on Sunday night. Negotiations could have begun in earnest 10 months ago when the CTU first submitted a proposal. The two sides are one-half of 1% of the city’s budget apart on their proposals, and the teachers continue to hold strong.
- SEIU was also back at the bargaining table this weekend and reached a tentative agreement on Sunday night. Members will vote on whether to accept the agreement starting on Monday afternoon. They will be back on the picket lines on Monday in support of CTU.
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 will run from 7:00am to 10:30am every day the strike continues. Check out tinyurl.com/cpsstrikesupport to learn more. Make sure to wear red!
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)
Bread for Ed
Bread for Ed will be making and distributing food at various areas around the city. Please consider donating if you can. If you have time and resources to help with preparation and/or distribution, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The material needs of students and striking workers will only escalate as the strike continues.
Locations that will be distributing food tomorrow include:
- Alderman Carlos Rosa’s Office, 2934 N Milwaukee, Unit C – 11am-2pm
- Alderman Andre Vasquez’s Office, 2406 W Bryn Mawr – 11am – 3pm
It’s worth noting the overall contract negotiation timeline, which the city has exploited at every opportunity to try to shame the teachers. Back in January, CTU submitted proposals clearly laying out what the next mayor would be expected to negotiate over. While the mayor is different, the CPS bargaining team is largely unchanged from Rahm Emanuel’s tenure. For over 10 months, the city has been aware of the teachers’ demands — and the tenacity with which they would fight for a fair contract.
It’s not surprising that the city would drag their feet on negotiations, but it is frustrating to watch residents (online and off) take the bait and criticize workers for being the ones keeping students out of school. The CPS negotiating team knows that their only strategy is to win a battle of attrition. Their contradictory tactics have only served to make the whole situation more frustrating to the outside observer. Fortunately, teachers and staff have articulated a clear moral vision for the future of Chicago public schools. This vision, coupled with continued public support, underscores how empty the city’s rhetoric is. Workers are succeeding despite having the odds, and the timeline, stacked against them.