Lightfoot, CTU Keep Sparring; Warren Backs Striking Teachers

WBBM Newsradio Staff
October 22, 2019 - 3:41 pm

Lori Lightfoot; Elizabeth Warren (WBBM Newsradio; Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday called on the Chicago Teachers Union to bargain in good faith over the limited money available to reach a contract agreement.

Lightfoot noted the teachers union did not send its entire bargaining team to negotiations while accusing her of putting “a brick on talks” by saying there’s only so much money to go around. 

“There should be a sense of urgency all the way around,” she told reporters.

Meantime, the CTU’s latest picketing efforts featured Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who expressed support for Chicago teachers.

“She has her right to come in,” Lightfoot said of Warren’s appearance. “I would expect all Democratic candidates for the presidency to support workers. That’s who we are as a party, but at the end of the day, what’s going to get it done is what happens at the bargaining table.”

The mayor visited the Marwen Arts Center in River North, where a couple of dozen CPS students were spending time during the fourth school day of the teachers strike.

The original location of the mayor’s media availability was moved from the art center’s window-walled vestibule when a small group of striking teachers showed up outside and began chanting.

The strikers would have been within view and hearing of cameras, recorders and the mayor. 

Lightfoot disagrees she’s killed negotiations by saying there’s no more money to give toward a teachers’ contract.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey “overstates things dramatically, and I get that,” the mayor said. “We wanted to make sure the CTU bargainers who kept coming to the table with new asks and new asks and new asks understood and were reminded of the precarious nature of CPS’ finances.”

Sharkey on Tuesday said the mayor was engaging in pressure tactics earlier this week when she sent him a letter urging teachers to return to work while a contract was being worked out. Teachers have said they want everything in writing before they return to classrooms.

The strike enters its fifth school day Wednesday. CPS announced classes will not be held.