We sent the below email this afternoon.
UPDATE: The strike continues after a day of bargaining. No school, Friday, October 18. Downtown rally, 1:30pm, City Hall.
UPDATE 10.18.19: Emergency Bilingual Ed Action-CTU/SEIU 73 Strike Day 2!, Friday, Oct 18, 11:30am - 2:30pm, Thompson Center Food Court. FB event page has more details.
The CTU and SEIU 73 strikes began at 12:01am, Thursday, October 17, 2019.
Chalkbeat Chicago: Teacher delegates reject Chicago’s offer, vote overwhelmingly to strike
Adequate and equitable resources for our schools
A student to social worker ratio that is in line with professional standards
Fully resourced special education staff and services
A nurse, case manager, and librarian in every school
A quality school day
Decreased classroom sizes
Clean buildings with consistent maintenance staff that principals supervise
A building engineer in every school
Community-driven decision making about our schools
The above list represents both the issues that Raise Your Hand has been fighting for since our founding as well as the school based contract demands that CTU is fighting for. In addition, RYH has also questioned CPS funding mechanisms (student based budgeting or SBB) and funding priorities (contracts that divert resources from teaching; irresponsible closing and opening of schools with little transparency.)
We at RYH are not in any position to suggest the pay and benefits teachers and school staff should negotiate or the specifics of a strike settlement, but we fully support the school-level requests they are fighting for and recognize the sacrifices teachers and school staff make every day-- including a strike -- for the resources every child and community in Chicago need and deserve.
Last Fall, the RYH Nursing Group had a few meetings with CPS regarding the inadequate, inconsistent and unreliable level of nursing care available for many students with medical care needs. Parents provided numerous suggestions on ways CPS could better manage and improve care. In October, CPS assured parents they’d be releasing a plan that would address parent concerns about nurse competency and continuity of care. In December, the CPS plan consisted of increasing the budget for temporary nursing services and increasing the pool of temporary agency nurses. This was not what parents had suggested to CPS. We understand the desire to put promised staff and other school-level demands in writing because it’s the only certain way to ensure that our schools have everything students need and it’s the only way to hold CPS accountable.
We are grateful for the teachers, school staff, parents, community members, educators, students, and other organizations -- many of you among them -- who are part of Chicago’s fight to preserve and sustain the public good that is public education.
Upcoming events- It’s suggested that participants wear red & purple.
🠲 Morning picket lines: There will be pickets up at 515 schools across the city, PLUS a picket line at downtown CPS offices, 42 W. Madison. 6:30am - 10:30am. You can find the school closest to you by using the CPS “Find A School” tool.
🠲 Afternoon rally, Thursday, October 17, downtown: Start gathering at 1:30pm at the corner of Dearborn & Madison, near CPS, 42 W. Madison. Facebook event page here.
Parents, reach out & help each other
Do you have flexibility in your schedule? Can you watch another parent's children in the coming days if it comes to that?
The more you know...
We've created a web page, 2019 Possible CTU/SEIU Strike: Resources for Parents + FAQs, which we continue to update. Much more information is now available about the CPS/City Contingency Plan, there are various community centers which are offering child care (for fees), and there are strike camps (various costs, times, and ages). If we are missing something, please send an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: SEIU 73 settled the contract with the Chicago Park District Tuesday night. This means the Parks will be running on their regular schedules but some school parks are closed. Drop-in activities available until 6 pm for school age children. SEIU 73 still has no deal with CPS and will be striking tomorrow with CTU.
There are some press articles which are also being updated regularly on contract negotiations:
- Chalkbeat Chicago started a live blog and they are #TrackingTheContract in this article.
- WBEZ: Chicago Teachers Strike 2019: Live Updates
- Sun-Times: Chicago teacher contract talks: Will they strike? The latest on the CPS-CTU negotiations and they have live updates here.
- WBEZ explores the issues in this article.
More strike news
Chalkbeat Chicago: 10 things to watch as a teachers strike begins in Chicago
Chicago Reporter: EXPLAINER: This is how the Chicago teachers contract talks broke down
Like what we do and appreciate these updates? Want to spend some time with education allies and hang out with people who get it? We're having a fundraiser this coming Tuesday...