The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) hosted a rally in Downtown Chicago Monday in anticipation of a strike should the union not be able to come to terms with Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The CTU and CPS are in the midst of ongoing contract negotiations amid the threat of significant teacher layoffs.
According to the union, which represents teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district, the rally was meant to show the union’s solidarity in preparation for an upcoming strike authorization vote. Thousands of teachers, parents, students, elected officials, activists and clergy attended the event.
The CTU has been at odds with the CPS throughout the negotiation process. The CPS has announced that it could potentially cut 5,000 jobs because of an ongoing budget crisis.
In November, more than 95 percent of union members participated a practice vote in which 97 percent voted that they would support authorization of a strike. Only 75 percent of support from members is legally required to approve a strike in a real authorization vote.
The results also show that many members are questioning their confidence in CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. Claypool is looking to legislators in Springfield to help solve the budget crisis.
A mediator has been brought in to help with negotiations, though the process is still not complete. The union has already initiated the fact-finding step in the strike process, which is set to begin in February if an agreement cannot be reached.
Lawyers for Chicago’s Union Workers
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