Negotiations Continue In An Effort To Prevent Chicago Teachers' Strike

Bernie Tafoya
October 15, 2019 - 8:20 am
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Chicago Public Schools

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Negotiations continue Tuesday in an effort to prevent a Chicago teachers' strike on Thursday.

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said he's happy that teachers and school board negotiators are starting to talk about some of the issues the union believes are important, but nothing is in writing and the time is running out.

"Some of the things that we are talking about today, should have been the first things that the Mayor was offering to us," Sharkey said. "The starting point for discussing how you get educational equity in basic education is a nurse in every school, every day."

The Mayor and CPS CEO said they are committed to getting a deal done.

Meanwhile, CPS is rescheduling some football games to ensure some teams get a chance at state playoffs, should there be a strike. 

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union, staff, their representatives, and those that support them including parents and students gathered Monday at the Chicago Temple Building for the Stand Up For Education Justice Rally.

Speakers at the rally, demanding a fair contract from Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago Public School negotiations, received standing ovations.

They are prepared to go on strike Oct. 17 if the Mayor fails sign a contract that provides a living wage for those within the union and other workers.  Those at the rally said that employees should be able to afford to live in the neighborhoods where they work.

Special needs teacher Jonathan Williams said another obstacle in solidifying a fair contract is, "the janitorial staff lacks the resources needed to provide clean schools while ARAMARK receives multi million dollar food service contracts".

Mayor Lightfoot tweeted early in the day, "Teachers, we hear you, we see you, and we remain committed to getting a deal done that respects your work. That is what educators, students, and families deserve."

The rally was followed by a march in downtown Chicago where hundreds of those that attended the rally and others that couldn't fit into the packed Temple Building continued their chants for a fair contract.

Mayor Lightfoot and CPS released a statement Monday night saying, "Today, the City and CPS' negotiating team responded at the bargaining table to the Chicago Teachers Union's framework for staffing and class size that they put forward on Saturday. We expressed a willingness to find solutions on these two core issues that would be written directly into the contract. Unfortunately, no measurable progress was made on any other issue today. We remain committed to getting a deal done, as our teachers, students and families deserve no less."