In a late-night press conference CTU president Karen Lewis announced that the union was going out on strike, listing a long set of concerns that hadn't been addressed including teacher evaluation, air conditioning, health benefits, and textbooks on time. It seemed to me like they were making a lot out of a bunch of small things, having won on most of the big ones, and I can't help but feel like it's a big blow to the kids, parents and the school year momentum to have teachers out on strike even if it ends up being just a few days. CTU claims to have parent and community support, but I'm not so sure parents are going to see eye to eye with them about this. Didn't see anyone but HOD behind Lewis. See CTU announcement below. *ADDED Monday 7:50 am: Morning news coverage.
Chicago teachers strike for first time in 25 years; contingency sites ready, charters remain open Sun Times: Chicago Teachers Union members will go on strike Monday morning after talks failed to yield a new contract, the head of the union announced late Sunday. “In the morning, no CTU member will be inside our schools,” Karen Lewis said at 10 p.m. “Please seek alternative care for your children.”
Chicago Teachers Strike: Union, Emanuel Disagree On Bottom Line Huffington Post: While Emanuel usually doesn't mince words, his anger appeared more internalized, more resolute. At moments, he appeared to be on the verge of tears. His hand shook visibly as he took a sip of water in between statements. "This is a strike of choice," he said.
Mayor: 'This is avoidable because this is a strike of choice' Clout Street: Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the teachers strike is "not necessary" because the two sides were close.
Chicago teachers to strike after talks fail WBEZ: The Chicago Teachers Union says its members will go on strike Monday for the first time in 25 years. The union says contract talks with the district failed late Sunday night over issues including benefits and job security.
What's in dispute Tribune: Key issues separating Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union: SALARIES AND BENEFITS. The district offered 16 percent increase over four years and "modified step increases that both reward experience and provide better incentives for ...
Chicago teachers to go on strike after talks with district fail Fox News: Teachers want to keep what they have now -- and a new teacher evaluation system based partly on students' standardized test scores,Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis ...
CTU: Teachers will strike at midnight Catalyst: In announcing that negotiations had failied, union leaders emphasized that compensation took a backseat as they want this contract to tackle bigger education issues, include greater protections for displaced teachers and lessen the weight that test scores have in teacher evaluations.
CPS FAILS TO NEGOTIATE FAIR CONTRACT TO PREVENT FIRST LABOR STRIKE IN 25 YEARS
More than 29,000 teachers and education professionals will not report to work today 9/10
CHICAGO – After hours of intense negotiations, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent the first teachers strike in 25 years. Pickets are expected to begin Monday at 675 schools and the Board of Education as early as 6:30 a.m. Teachers, paraprofessionals and school clinicians have been without a labor agreement since June of this year.
Union leaders expressed disappointment in the District’s refusal to concede on issues involving compensation, job security and resources for their students. CTU President Karen Lewis said, “Negotiations have been intense but productive, however we have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike. This is a difficult decision and one we hoped we could avoid. Throughout these negotiations have I remained hopeful but determined. We must do things differently in this city if we are to provide our students with the education they so rightfully deserve.
“Talks have been productive in many areas. We have successfully won concessions for nursing mothers and have put more than 500 of our members back to work. We have restored some of the art, music, world language, technology and physical education classes to many of our students. The Board also agreed that we will now have textbooks on the first day of school rather than have our students and teachers wait up to six weeks before receiving instructional materials.
“Recognizing the Board’s fiscal woes, we are not far apart on compensation. However, we are apart on benefits. We want to maintain the existing health benefits.
“Another concern is evaluation procedures. After the initial phase-in of the new evaluation system it could result in 6,000 teachers (or nearly 30 percent of our members) being discharged within one or two years. This is unacceptable. We are also concerned that too much of the new evaluations will be based on students’ standardized test scores. This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator. Further there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control.
“We want job security. Despite a new curriculum and new, stringent evaluation system, CPS proposes no increase (or even decreases) in teacher training. This is notable because our Union through our Quest Center is at the forefront teacher professional development in Illinois. We have been lauded by the District and our colleagues across the country for our extensive teacher training programs that helped emerging teachers strengthen their craft and increased the number of nationally board certified educators.
“We are demanding a reasonable timetable for the installation of air-conditioning in student classrooms--a sweltering, 98-degree classroom is not a productive learning environment for children. This type of environment is unacceptable for our members and all school personnel. A lack of climate control is unacceptable to our parents.
“As we continue to bargain in good faith, we stand in solidarity with parents, clergy and community-based organizations who are advocating for smaller class sizes, a better school day and an elected school board. Class size matters. It matters to parents. In the third largest school district in Illinois there are only 350 social workers—putting their caseloads at nearly 1,000 students each. We join them in their call for more social workers, counselors, audio/visual and hearing technicians and school nurses. Our children are exposed to unprecedented levels of neighborhood violence and other social issues, so the fight for wraparound services is critically important to all of us. Our members will continue to support this ground swell of parent activism and grassroots engagement on these issues. And we hope the Board will not shut these voices out.
“While new Illinois law prohibits us from striking over the recall of laid-off teachers and compensation for a longer school year, we do not intend to sign an agreement until these matters are addressed.
“Again, we are committed to staying at the table until a contract is place. However, in the morning no CTU member will be inside our schools. We will walk the picket lines. We will talk to parents. We will talk to clergy. We will talk to the community. We will talk to anyone who will listen—we demand a fair contract today, we demand a fair contract now. And, until there is one in place that our members accept, we will on the line.
“We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the state and country who are currently bargaining for their own fair contracts. We stand with those who have already declared they too are prepared to strike, in the best interests of their students.”
“This announcement is made now so our parents and community are empowered with this knowledge and will know that schools will not open on tomorrow. Please seek alternative care for your children. And, we ask all of you to join us in our education justice fight—for a fair contract—and call on the mayor and CEO Brizard to settle this matter now. Thank you.”
The union is not on strike over matters governed exclusively by IELRA Section 4.5 and 12(b).
The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at www.ctunet.com .