Chicago Teachers Voting on Strike Authorization

September 23, 2016
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Chicago, Ill.—Chicago’s public school teachers began voting Sept. 21 on whether to authorize a strike. “It is imperative that you vote ‘yes,’” Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis wrote in a message to members, telling them, “We must make our power felt to compel the mayor to take our demands seriously.”

The city’s teachers have been working under an expired contract since June 2015. A 75% majority is needed to authorize a strike, and the union has to give the state 10 days notice before it can legally walk out. With the CTU’s next board meeting, scheduled for Oct. 5, that would mean a strike would not happen before Monday, Oct. 17. CTU members voted to authorize a strike by a 7–1 margin last December, but the school administration challenged its validity. “The district has taken pension holidays costing us more than $2 billion; rescinded a 4% salary increase in 2012; closed 50 schools in 2013; and mandated three furlough days last year,” Lewis wrote. “Enough is enough. We are not asking for exorbitant raises.” Read more

September 22, 2016

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