Chicago Teachers Vote to Authorize Strike

POLITICO Pro reports that a majority of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members have recently voted to authorize a strike, the union announced.

CTU states that more than 90 percent of its 27,000 members turned out for the vote last week and 96 percent of those who voted chose to authorize the strike. Contract negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the union are at a standoff and teachers are facing layoffs due to the district’s financial troubles. CTU President Karen Lewis and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten both urged members to vote “yes.”

It could take several months before teachers actually go on strike, due to both sides participating in a “fact-finding” process to come to a resolution.

CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool to “listen to what teachers and educators are trying to tell you: do not cut the schools anymore, do not make the layoffs that you have threatened; instead, respect educators and give us the tools we need to do our jobs.”

Sharkey also called on the district to adequately staff schools, reduce standardized testing, reduce paperwork and increase more counseling and restorative justice programs for students in targeted schools.

In 2012, nearly 90 percent of CTU’s membership approved the union’s last strike.