The votes are in and 94% of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members voted to authorize a strike on September 26, 2019. (Illinois law mandates that 75% of CTU members must vote yes to authorize union leadership to call for a strike.)
An affirmative strike authorization vote does not mean that CPS teachers will definitely strike. It authorizes a strike in the event that CTU and CPS cannot come to an agreement. We urge both sides to take every measure possible to avoid a strike.
In addition to the CTU, SEIU Local 73 members already authorized a strike. This is the union that represents Special Education Classroom Assistants (SECAs), bus aides, board custodians, security officers, and parent workers. CTU and SEIU will be hosting informational pickets at schools in the coming weeks. Parents, we encourage you to speak to your teachers and school staff.
For recent updates on contract negotiations, see this article from Chalkbeat Chicago. And here is Chalkbeat's article from tonight: Chicago teachers vote by wide margin to go on strike.
Below are some questions parents are asking. We’ll do our best to answer.
If there is a strike, when will it begin?
Officially, we don’t know. The CTU House of Delegates will meet on Wednesday, October 2, to set a potential strike date. The earliest date that CTU can strike is October 7. The earliest date that SEIU Local 73 can strike is October 17. It is generally believed that if both unions strike they will begin their strikes on the same day.
Where can I send my children during school hours if the teachers and staff go on strike?
During the 2012 strike, CPS and the city offered alternative programming during school hours at some schools, park districts, and libraries. It involved activities, some supervision, and meals. However, the programs offered then might be impossible to staff this time around. Stay with us here… In 2012, programs offered within CPS schools were staffed by CPS staff who are members of SEIU Local 73. If SEIU Local 73 goes on strike and the teachers go on strike, it’s very likely these programs will not be offered. In 2012, any programs offered at park districts were staffed by park district staff. Park district staff who are also members of SEIU Local 73 voted to authorize a strike this past Tuesday. If they strike at the same time as CPS teachers and staff, alternative programming at park districts may not be offered.
So where can I send my children during school hours if the teachers and staff go on strike?
We recommend connecting with other parents and helping each other out. We also recommend reaching out to local organizations and businesses that provide classes for children. Some may offer special classes or camps. During the 2012 strike, some parents hosted “strike camps”. Several parents who had scheduling flexibility ran activities for their own children and invited parents without scheduling flexibility to drop their kids off at the strike camp location. We'll be sharing information as it becomes available. Please feel free to share ideas and suggestions with us: firstname.lastname@example.org. But, again, there was an authorization vote; a strike is not definite. Yet, you may want to start connecting with other parents and brainstorming some ideas and possible plans.
I’m ready to walk the line with teachers and staff if they go out on strike. How does that work?
Speak to your school’s teachers and staff and find out their plans. During the 2012 strike, typically, teachers picketed at their own schools in the morning. Some days there was a larger rally in the afternoon. We also recommend following the organizations Parents 4 Teachers and the Chicago Teachers and Staff Solidarity Campaign. They are offering many ideas and opportunities to support CPS teachers and staff now and will do the same during a strike, if one occurs.
What if… What if… What if?
As we said earlier, we urge both sides to take every measure possible to avoid a strike. We will continue to provide as much information possible as it becomes available. Here are ways to stay in touch with us. And, again, we encourage you to have conversations with your school's teachers and staff.
RYH recommended reading or listening
It’s been a busy week! Here’s what we’re reading to stay informed on all things Chicago public education!
➡️ New report: "Student Based Budgeting Concentrates Low Budget Schools in Chicago’s Black Neighborhoods" by Stephanie Farmer, Associate Professor of Sociology at Roosevelt, and Ashley Baber, PhD candidate at Loyola University Chicago.
➡️ New report: “Principal Voice in CPS/CTU Bargaining” by Chicago Principals and Administrators Association
➡️ Chalkbeat Chicago: Youth to Chicago mayor: Spend more on schools, less on police
RYH at the September CPS unelected BOE meeting
We were there speaking and live tweeting! Check out our statements with links to videos here, including a video of CEO Jackson’s response to us.
The Advocate Group is holding a series of Special Education Workshops to help parents determine if their child may be eligible for extra special education services. Please join us! Visit this RYH web page for more details and for downloadable, shareable UPDATED flyers. *Please note that there is a change in date to the Austin neighborhood workshop- see the UPDATED flyers below.
The LSCs 4 ALL coalition is hosting The Gathering on Saturday, October 5, 10am - 12pm at National Teachers Academy (NTA), 55 W. Cermak Road. Let's make sure parents are at the table when decisions are made at our kids' schools! Flyer as jpg (for social media & texting); Flyer as pdf (for printing). Facebook event page.
Raise a Glass for Raise Your Hand, our annual fundraiser, is right around the corner! Tuesday, October 22, 5:30 - 8:30pm, in “the basement” of Lagunitas Brewing, 2607 W. 17th St. Our Host Committee invites you to buy your tickets today and support the great work of RYH!