The Chicago Teachers Union has been attempting to negotiate a fair contract since last November. Teachers have been working without a contract since June 30. Should there be a strike, it is not simply about compensation, although the Board of Education has proposed combining wage and health care proposals, resulting in a net loss in salary. Although legally the union can only strike over compensation issues, this strike is very much a fight to defend a quality public education for every Chicago student. It is, as CTU President Karen Lewis has declared, a struggle “for the soul of public education.”
In ten months of negotiation, the Board has refused to negotiate over core union issues that would create, as the union’s hallmark study declared “The Schools that Chicago’s Students Deserve.” The Board refuses to negotiate over classroom size; over having a nurse and social worker in every school; over having a library in every school; and over funding neighborhood schools instead of its drive to privatize public education through creating scores of non-union charter schools where teachers and parents have no voice. This is a strike that teachers and advocates of workers’ rights and supporters of public education across the nation are closely watching.
On the first day of the strike, thousands of teachers picketed outside their schools in the morning.
In the afternoon, over 10,000 teachers and allies marched in downtown Chicago, rallying at CPS, and then surrounding City Hall.
Arise Chicago staff and members have been supporting the Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign at strike headquarters, making banners, marching with teachers, and more. See how to get involved below.
What You Can Do to Support Teachers:
- Each day of the strike, you can join teachers on the picket lines at every school from 6:30 to 10:30am. Click here for list sorted by school or by zip code.
- Volunteer at the Chicago Teachers Union Strike Solidarity Center at Teamsters Auditorium at 300 S. Ashland to make signs and banners, organize donations, help with sign distribution, sign-up to leaflet materials, help with banner drops, etc. Call Luke for details: 616-745-5134 or just show up.
- Join teachers and supporters to rally and march every day. Check out CTU’s Strike Central for daily action updates.
- Offer public prayers for and blessings of teachers in your house of worship and invite a teacher to speak.
- Pick up your CTU support signs at Teamsters Auditorium at 300 S. Ashland to put in your window or yard and distribute signs to coffee shops, work places, etc. For those driving by, pick-up on Van Buren, just west of Ashland, is possible without getting out of your car.
- Call Gus or Daisy at Primo’s Pizza at (312) 243-1052, a locally owned and teacher-friendly restaurant to make a donation by credit card so teachers and supporters at the Solidarity Center can have pizza, pasta, and salads delivered to them. Consider pooling donations with others and making just one phone call. Please try not call during peak hours of 11:45 to 1:15. Donations have already been called in from around the country!
- Call Mayor Emanuel at 312-744-330 or CPS CEO Brizard at 773-553-1500 to tell them that CPS students deserve smaller class sizes, more libraries and computers, and that the teachers deserve a fair contract.
- Wear red every day, even if you are not able to join the marches.
- Sign up to get the latest news:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChicagoTeachersSolidarity
- Twitter: @CTSCampaign or @AriseChicago
- Website: ctscampaign.weebly.com
- CTU Strike Central
- Questions? Email: ChicagoTeachersSolidarity@gmail. com
- Text message updates: text @ctsc2012 to 23559 to receive strike and picket updates