CHICAGO — Chicago Public School teachers hit the picket line for a second day as their fight for a fair contract continues.
Thursday, CTU said they were far from a deal, but they got a little closer Friday. The union said they are close to getting in writing that school counselors will not have to perform other roles while on the job.
"Today, we are close to having a contract article that says counselors are allowed to do counseling work, not lunch and recess duty, not substituting, not test coordination again and again and again," said counselor Kristy Brooks. "But actually allowed to work with students."
It's still unknown if there will be classes Monday.
Following Friday's bargaining session, the mayor said the day was "encouraging."
From the start, our team has focused on building equity and targeting greater supports and investments to the areas of greatest need. We believe this is a vision we share with the Chicago Teachers Union, and so we are encouraged that today’s negotiations were productive and yielded real movement on a number of key issues, including staffing for clinical groups, special education, and supports for Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS). Today, we also presented an updated offer on staffing that would go above and beyond the unprecedented public commitments we made over the summer to hire hundreds of additional social workers, nurses and case managers while prioritizing resources for the schools that need them most. With this new offer on staffing in addition to our updated offer on class size, we are working to address the core issues that CTU has said are central to reaching an agreement – in writing. A strong sense of urgency and willingness to compromise on both sides will be essential to reaching a deal, and we are committed to bargaining in good faith so that we can create the fair agreement our students, families and teachers deserve.
Bargaining will pick back up at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Ahead of Friday's session, Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed frustration over what she sees as a lack of urgency. The mayor suggests key union players skip the marches and rallies, and stay at the bargaining table.
"We need to be at the table every single day, seven-days a week, at least 10 hours a day, until we get a deal done. So the ball is very much in their court. We didn't leave the table," Lightfoot said.
The mayor also said she plans to stand firm on pay and benefits, and her offer remains a 16% raise over five-years. Lightfoot said there is no truth to claim CPS has more funds than it is letting on, saying, "There is no more money---period."
While addressing the media Friday, CTU President Jesse Sharkey said, "We want this to be as short as a strike as possible. But, it's up to the mayor to come up with a resolve and commitment of resources that's going to get us there."
Neither side remains confidant that there will be a deal reached by the end of Friday.
Lightfoot said during a news conference at City Hall, that CPS is not planning to make up the days lost by the strike by extending the school year.
Classes for more than 300,000 students were canceled Thursday and Friday as 25,000 Chicago Public School teachers and staff walked off the job for the Chicago Teachers Union strike. On Thursday, the group marched through the Loop after a rally outside of CPS headquarters.
Chicago teachers are asking for more pay, smaller class sizes and more staffing. Another sticking point of the teachers union is affordable housing. The CTU wants access to low income housing for new teachers and its estimated 16,450 homeless students.
This is the first time CPS teachers have gone on strike since 2012. That strike lasted seven days.
Chicago is the nation's third largest school district.