December 18, 2015
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Chicago, IL – Members of the Chicago Teachers Union voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if the city does not meet their contract demands.
The union announced Dec. 14 that more than 96% of members who cast ballots had supported a strike, and more than 90% of the 27,000 members had cast ballots—well over the 75% support required by state law. “Rahm Emanuel really does not need a teachers strike,” CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey said, referring to the city’s mayor. “And what we’re telling him is if he doesn’t listen to us, that’s what he’ll get.” Union officials say the city school system has asked for a contract that would cut pay and benefits by $653 million, while the CTU is demanding a 3% raise and that more teachers and ancillary staff be hired to reduce class sizes. Even if talks break down completely—the teachers’ contract with the city expired last June—a strike isn’t possible before May, as state law mandates a 105-day fact-finding period before a walkout can be legal. Read more