Mayor Lightfoot: Not Surprised By Overwhelming CTU Strike Vote

Craig Dellimore
September 27, 2019 - 4:23 pm

(WBBM Newsradio)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- After a majority of Chicago Teachers Union members authorized leaders to call a strike Thursday evening, mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was not surprised.

Speaking in Pilsen, Lightfoot said she was not concerned about the overwhelming talk about a strike.

She said she hears the issues CTU is demaning, like hiring more librarians, social workers and counselors. She said it's not a matter of money but finding the right people. 

"We believe we can get to the numbers we put into the budget but the hardest part is recruiting librarians — we don't have nearly enough librarians graduating from library school," Lightfoot said. 

Ninety-four percent of CTU members supported the move as the teachers union continues to be at odds with representatives of the Chicago Public Schools system over a new contract. The vote doesn't guarantee teachers will walk off the job, but sets the stage for a potential strike as early as Oct. 7. 

Even though CPS brought issues to the table with their own proposals, the union is not impressed and the group has not met an agreement.

With more than $1 billion in additional annual revenue, CPS has the resources to deliver on the justice and equity demands that educators, parents, and students alike are demanding, CTU said in a statement. 

“When I look at the conditions that my students face, I almost feel as if the board is daring me to go on strike,” said Kirstin Roberts, an early childhood teacher at Brentano Elementary. “They want to talk about compensation and little else. CPS and the mayor say that they are finally hearing us after we took a strike vote, but I don’t feel heard.”

Among the union's demands is a 15% total raise over a three-year contract, while CPS has offered 16% over five years.

A strike would affect 360,000 school children.