Charter School Teachers Set Strike Date If Contract Deal Not Reached

Bernie Tafoya
November 14, 2018 - 11:12 am

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Teachers for the Acero Charter School network have set a strike date of Dec. 4 and contend contract talks are not making progress. 

More than a dozen teachers and paraprofessionals for Acero charter schools stood across 47th Street from Garcia High School in the Archer Heights neighborhood to announce their decision.

Special education apprentice (paraprofessional) Andy Crooks said the union continues to demand at the bargaining table lower class sizes, increased pay, and a more diverse teaching staff in the 16 Acero schools. 

Crooks said teachers do not want to go on strike, but will if pushed by Acero management.

"We have been making this case at the bargaining table for six months. Twenty-two meetings and God only knows how many hours and if we have to, on December 4, we will take this fight to the streets," he said.  

Crooks said the union is advocating for students in contract talks.

"All of these things that we are pushing across the table… every single one of them is about our students who come through the doors every single day and for Acero to tell us at the bargaining table that it’s about their bottom line is unacceptable," he said.

Acero Charter School Network Chief External Affairs Officer Helena Stangle said the charter company is "disappointed, but not surprised" that teachers have set a strike date.

Stangle said the Chicago Teachers Union wants to make an example of the charter schools. 

She said Acero is committed to remaining at the bargaining table and reaching an agreement with its teachers and paraprofessionals. 

Parent Amarily Falcon has two sons in Acero schools and said she's worried "that our staff are not fairly compensated, treated or appreciated."

Acero has said it is working to reach an agreement with its 500-plus teachers. Acero said on its website in a message to parents that, if there is a strike, there would be no classes, but that any student who did not have an alternative place to go could go to their school to be cared for.