Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union have yet to reach a negotiation as of Monday morning.
If an agreement is not reached by end-of-day, CTU plans to keep its Tuesday strike date. The union’s teachers have been working without a contract since the end of June 2015 — the contract signed after the 2012 strike.
“CTU members have worked without a contract for nearly 500 days as the Board of Education has intentionally stalled labor talks and rejected all contract proposals—including those with no costs associated with them,” CTU representatives said in a statement. “The district’s latest round of budget cuts could lead to 300 teacher and support staff layoffs amidst failed privatization efforts and reduction in special education programs, librarians, counselors, social workers and teachers’ aides.”
The main areas of negotiation include layoffs and budget cuts, cuts to pensions, the loss of steps-and-lanes (pay based on years teaching or education level), increased health care costs, and the continuation of a longer school day.
“Teachers already struggle to make ends meet, and go above and beyond by doing things like paying for classroom supplies out of pocket, so they sacrifice daily to protect their students and classrooms,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement. “It’s time for the people who say they care about education, and who helped create these problems, to fund our schools and propose solutions which don’t hurt our kids even more.”
In preparation for the possible strike, CPS is keeping all school buildings open and staffed for parents with no alternative child care in addition to many Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library sites. Families can find a site near them at cps.edu/strikeplan and sign up for email updates at cps.edu/signup.