CHICAGO – A Chicago teachers strike is less than two weeks away, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot is still hoping to get a deal done.
The mayor’s office and the Chicago Teachers Union have 10 days to come up with a deal to avoid a teachers strike.
During a press conference Monday, Lightfoot said it’s been 141 days since the union has given her office and Chicago Public Schools a comprehensive written counter offer.
The union says that’s not true. They say they’ve given many substantive proposals since January, but it took the city until July to respond.
The teachers union received a comprehensive written offer from the mayor’s office on Sept. 27.
“This was our offer,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “As you can see, detailed multiple pages.”
Last Friday, the mayor’s office received five-pages from the teachers union. Lightfoot said that isn’t enough to cover the many issues still open, such as compensation, insurance and staffing.
They need that in order to bargain, and to avoid a strike on Oct. 17.
The union is asking for a three-year contact with 5% annual raises. They want a nurse and librarian at every school, more social workers and class size limits.
The district is offering them a 16% over five-years.
“We need to have a written counter offer from the union and all this time, not getting something back, that responds in a comprehensive way to the multitude of issues that remain open, that’s a problem, but that’s a problem that can be solved,” Lightfoot said.
The mayor and the board said their offer respects teachers and staff and includes significant salary raises without putting CPS in financial trouble.
Both sides clearly disagree on what has been done so far at the bargaining table.
Monday afternoon, CTU released a statement blaming the mayor and CPS for dragging their feet:
“Union members routinely offer counter-proposals to the district’s terminally inadequate actions that are featured on both the CTU website and also in a series of video bargaining reports to members, but the consensus from the rank-and-file bargaining team is that Board has done more stalling and stonewalling during negotiations than actual bargaining.”