October 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Chicago, IL – The Chicago Teachers Union announced Sept. 28 that it will go on strike Oct. 11 if it can’t reach a contract agreement with city public schools.
“We’re going to continue to try and reach an agreement on this contract,” CTU president Karen Lewis said after the announcement, but the union denounced the Board of Education’s most recent proposal as “just more of the same—$100 million in layoffs and budget cuts, cuts to pensions, the loss of steps-and-lanes, increased health care costs and the continuation of a longer school day.” “We're asking for some simple assurances that the public schools themselves will be defended against further cuts," said union vice president Jesse Sharkey. The city’s nearly 30,000 teachers have been working under an expired contract for more than 16 months. School officials want teachers to contribute more to their pension fund, which the union considers a pay cut. Lewis told the board Sept. 28 that it could find funds for a contract “if we can find some of that TIF money.” TIF, tax increment financing, is a system used by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in which city revenues are diverted to subsidize public and private construction projects. Read more