CTU President Says There's Progress, But Not Enough; Teacher Strike Continues 2nd Day

Mike Krauser
October 18, 2019 - 10:19 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- 25,000 striking Chicago teachers and support staff are on picket lines for a second day. CTU said progress was made during day one of the strike, and now they are putting he ball in the Mayor's court on day two.

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey stopped Friday at Benito Juarez High School before heading back to the bargaining table, addressing CPS teachers on the picket line.

"We do want a settlement, but we are not just looking for a quick settlement.We are looking for a fair settlement and a just settlement in the schools," Sharkey said. "Stay strong sisters and brothers, we are winning. We are winning the public, we are moving the bargaining table, and we are going to keep doing that until we get what we all deserve." 

Sharkey said there is progress at the table and what has to happen is more of a financial commitment on class sizes and staffing.

"This is a short-term disruption, for what we hope is a long-term commitment to educational justice in this city. That's what we want and that's what we are going to keep fighting for. Is that right?" Sharkey said.

The crowd of striking teachers and staff cheered.

Sharkey said progress has been made on class size reduction, but "I don't think it addresses class size in about 80 to 90 percent of our classrooms across the city, so we are going to need to do better than that, but it is a step in the right direction.

"What we are seeing across this whole city is an outpouring of emotion from the hearts of teachers and educators, because what we do in these schools every day is hard. Conditions in our buildings are hard. And what we really want is an improvement in our working conditions, which are the learning conditions of our students. What we are asking for is educational justice."

Sharkey said they want this to be as short of a strike as possible, but said that's up to the Mayor to commit more to staffing and class size. 

"We want to get back to our students. We want to get back to the classrooms. We want this to be as short of a strike as possible, but it's up to the Mayor to come up with the resolve and the commitment of resources, which are going to get us there. That's going to be pact to be back into the classrooms," he said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded saying there is no more money.

"The ball's in their court. We put a fulsome, comprehensive offer on the table. They need to respond, in kind; and we need to be at the table, every single day, seven days a week, at least 10 hours a day, until we get a deal done," Mayor Lightfoot said.

The Mayor said the reality is not necessarily what we are hearing from the union that its going to take a lot more money.

"Keep in mind CPS is just on the other side of the line from insolvency," she said.