Nearly 90 percent of CTU members voted in favor of strike - FOX 32 News Chicago

Nearly 90 percent of CTU members voted in favor of strike

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Teachers Union made it official, Monday afternoon.

"You cannot put students first if you put their teachers and paraprofessionals and clinicians last," Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union, said.

The CTU announced 91.55 percent of their members voted and 89.73 percent voted in favor of a strike, which means CTU members have legal authority to strike, should they choose to do so. That vote stretched over three days, but leaders said they now have the numbers.

"Right now the playing field is leveled all the way on their side. This changes that field very quickly," Lewis added.

Chicago Public Schools CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard was disappointed by such an early vote.

"To have teachers to be forced to make a decision in the middle of a negotiation, a decision to strike or do nothing, I think really is a shame," Brizard said.

An arbitrator's compromised proposal doesn't come out until July 16th. Both sides will have 15 days to review and accept or reject. The earliest teachers would be able to strike is August 17th and the latest would be August 31st.

Many CPS parents at South Loop Elementary were concerned, but understand why the teachers voted.

"I think they both know what it all means for the city and the kids to have a strike, but I think having an authorization is a tool," Catherine Feit said.

"Teachers are the foundation of our nation, so they should be paid well. And I think a strike is something that is going to happen," Maynarod Roach added.

Both sides were still far apart. Teachers want a 30 percent raise, while Chicago Public Schools want to give them 2 percent. However, they can agree on one issue.

"We know we have to get this deal closed because I need to have my children in school come fall, I don't need to have one day, one day of our kids missing school," Brizard added.

 

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