CHICAGO —Strike threats are growing in Chicago.
Park District employees announced that more than 94 percent of its members voted to authorize a strike. The same union, SEIU Local 73, also represents more than 7,000 school support staff, who are also considering a work strike.
This development comes as Chicago Public School teachers vote over whether to authorize their own strike
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office has not yet responded to the Park District labor fight, which raises the possibility of three city strikes at the same time.
The park workers and school support staff joined the Chicago Teachers Union rally Tuesday night as CTU began a three-day strike authorization vote.
The rally drew the support of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, as well as actor John Cusack. With about 25,000 members, the teachers union is seeking a new three-year contract.
The city has already offered a five-year deal, which the mayor believes is fair.
Along with a wage hike, teachers are demanding more support staff in schools and other classroom changes.
CTU voting will wrap Thursday. More than 75 percent approval is needed to authorize a strike.
The last one in 2012 lasted for seven days.
With the teachers union fight heating up, park district employees feel the timing is right to ratchet up their contract demands too.
Workers oversee more than 600 Chicago parks, as well as hundreds of public pools, more than 25-miles of the lakefront and they also oversee a lot of city programs for children’.
Which is why things could get tricky should the teachers strike, since alternative programming is usually offered through the park district.
The result of the CTU vote is expected by the end of this week.