BREAKING NEWS: The Chicago Teachers Union voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike - jeopardizing an on-time start date to the school year this fall. It is now more important than ever that both sides figure out what's best for everyone - teachers, parents, and most importantly, Chicago's students.
Twenty-five years ago, 28,000 Chicago teachers went on strike over contract negotiations with the Chicago Board of Education. As a result, the Chicago Public School system closed for four weeks.
This year, the teachers’ contract is up and the Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union must come to an agreement on the terms of the contract. Both sides claim to be far apart on the issue, and any resort to drastic measures will affect kids.
No one knows what’s actually being proposed for the new contract until a fact-finding report is issued after July 15. Despite the timing of this process, the union has called for a strike authorization vote to take place on June 6th that would give their House of Delegates the power to set a strike to start at the beginning of the school year. In other words, the union is voting to authorize a future strike without knowing what’s in the contract. This is unfair to everyone involved: teachers, students, and parents.
Come fall, a strike would mean that nearly 400,000 students could lose valuable instruction time and instead have unstructured – and in some cases, unsupervised – time during the day. This will leave parents struggling to find emergency arrangements for their children and parents will likely have to miss work and lose income. Plus, the district could lose valuable funding due to a loss of enrollment.
There is a real possibility that hundreds of Chicago schools will be closed on the first day of school. We cannot let our voices go unheard. We need every Chicago parent to sign the petition calling on both sides to stay at the table and negotiate in good faith.