Chicago, IL – The Chicago Teacher’s Union unanimously voted on Thusrday to strike on September 10.
NBC News reports that, unless a deal can be struck with the schools, members of the Chicago Teacher’s Union will head to the picket lines. If this happens, it could affect 400,000 students.
The ballot was cast at a Chinatown union hall and was met with cheers by the more than 700 members that voted towards striking.
The decision to strike came a day after Chicago’s Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis issued a 10-day strike notice. This means that September 10 is the earliest that teachers can strike, which falls a week after most students head back to class.
“We’re tired of being bullied, belittled and betrayed,” Lewis said at a news conference following the meeting. “We have done everything asked of us, yet we continue to be vilified and treated with disrespect.”
Lewis says that they will continue to negotiate in order to work out a contract that helps resolve concerns over wages, job security, and a new evaluation system.
In response to the teacher’s strike, Chicago Public Schools chief executive Jean-Claude Brizard isssued a statement saying,
“Should CTU leaders decide to strike on September 10, more than 350,000 students will be taken out of their classroom, just as they’re making progress with a Full School Day. Varsity sports for 11,000 student athletes will be suspended. More than 400,000 daily breakfasts and meals will no longer be served.”
“College transcripts and recommendations for 20,000 seniors will be put on hold. If our priority is our kids, then strike should never be an option. That’s why we need to take advantage of each of the next 11 days and work until we reach a fair resolution for our teachers that will allow our kids to stay in school where they belong.”
In case of strike, CPS officials have been making preparations and have come up with a strategy to keep students engaged. As part of the strategy announced Thursday, CPS would keep a group of 145 schools open from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm Monday through Friday to provide activities to children and keep them engaged in independent reading, arts, sports, and computer-based programming.
“These plans are simply a precaution,” Brizard said, “but we have an obligation and responsibility to our children and their parents to make sure they are not left behind in the event of a strike.”