The Chicago Teachers Union will go on strike on Oct. 11 if an agreement on teachers’ contracts isn’t reached with the city’s Board of Education, the CTU announced on Wednesday.
The two sides are currently engaged in negotiations. A strike would be averted if they can agree on a deal by Oct. 11.
“The big issues our members are concerned about are first of all the issue of cuts,” CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey said during a news conference on Wednesday. “The cuts that the board of education wants to make not just on the people who work in the schools — they’re still talking about cutting people’s pay and compensation — but also the cuts that are happening in our public schools forcing the loss of librarians, the loss of clinicians, the loss of special education services, the loss of busing services. We’re seeing class sizes get larger. So we’re asking for some simple assurances that public schools themselves will be defended against further cuts.”
CPS released a statement following the CTU’s announcement that it plans to strike.
“What we can all agree on is that teachers deserve a raise, which is why we offered a contract with a healthy raise that was approved by an independent arbitrator,” the statement said. “We believe a strike can be averted and to make sure children’s academic process isn’t interrupted, CPS will work tirelessly at the bargaining table.”
The CTU last went on strike in Sept. of 2012. That strike, the first in Chicago since 1987, lasted for seven school days. It cost many CPS football teams one week of games.
Oct. 11 is a Tuesday. The large majority of CPS football programs will have played seven games by that point in the season. A strike means that games for most schools will not take place indefinitely. It would likely cost several teams an opportunity to qualify for the postseason by reaching five or six wins. The strike could also keep most CPS teams out of the state playoffs, if it goes long enough.
It must be noted, however, that teachers at Chicago’s charter schools — like the Perspectives schools, the Urban Preps and the Noble schools — are not part of the CTU. They will still be able to play games, if the strike does indeed happen.
Let’s hope both sides can reach an agreement before the CTU goes on strike.