Chicago Teachers Union march through downtown as strike deadline looms

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CHICAGO — Monday was a holiday for Chicago Public Schools and more than 1000 members of two public employee unions gathered for a rally and a march for a contract.

On Thursday, the 25,000 members of Chicago’s teachers union and 10,000 members of SEIU local 73, representing CPS support staff and park district employees plan to take the march the next step and walk the picket line. If a strike happens, it will be for the first time in seven years.

Negotiations continue with the city on Monday as well.  Pay is only part of the issue. CTU wants guarantees on nurses, librarians and social workers, among others.

Last week, the city counter offered and Monday Mayor Lori Lightfoot sent a recorded message

“We offered additional support for overcrowded classrooms and committed an additional $400,000 for a pipeline for additional support staff,” she said.

For now, negotiations continue as the clock counts down to the launch of what could be a massive teachers strike in the mayor’s first months in office.

“I have some optimism, I always do,” CTU President  Jesse Sharkey said. “But we’re running out of runway. The mayor has a path but we’re going to have to be really serious to avoid a strike.”

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