FACED WITH Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials’ refusal to budge on key contract issues, including wages and job security, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) filed a 10-day strike notice on August 29.
This means that union members could be walking the picket line as early as September 10, in what would be the CTU’s first strike in 25 years. On August 30, a standing-room-only CTU House of Delegates meeting voted unanimously in favor of the September 10 strike date.
… CPS plans to work with other city agencies like the public libraries and park district, local faith organizations and other non-profits to keep 145 schools open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. CPS says the centers will provide daily meals and be staffed by CPS central office personnel, non-CTU employees and organizations that have submitted proposals to provide programming.
The school board has so far authorized $25 million for this effort. As teachers and many parents have concluded, while Brizard and CPS say they can’t find the resources to deal with teachers’s demands on pay and staffing, they have all the money in the world to try to break a strike.
Clearly it’s union-busting, not children, that Brizard and CPS put “first.”
Teachers and their supporters among parents, students and the community can have only one response to CPS’s bullying: solidarity.
… Katie Hogan, a 12-year CPS teacher, described how she was laid off on August 24 by an interim principal who claimed Hogan’s position—as one of the school’s three English teachers—had been closed “for economic reasons”:
Imagine what is your greatest fear in your lives, besides losing the people closest to you. For me, that was not being able to teach. And my fear came true this Friday. Five minutes after my last class, I was escorted by security from the school that I helped found, from a system I’ve worked in for 12 years…
We are not alone… As soon as I told people about my dismissal, I started hearing from people all around Chicago about how their position had been closed or redefined or they needed triple-certification to teach, and there was one thing that rang—these people were all really strong union activists…
If we didn’t have a union, you wouldn’t be hearing our story, because the only reason we are all here is because the CTU continues to fight for us.