CPS teachers strike all but certain, union leaders say

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CHICAGO — With just hours to go, the message to Chicago Public School parents Tuesday night is to prepare for a strike. There are just two days left before CPS teachers are scheduled to walk off the job. Negotiations continued through the day in hopes of reaching a deal on a new contract but Tuesday evening, members of the union addressed the media and said a strike is all but certain Thursday. CTU President Jesse Sharkey said there is just not enough time to reach a deal with the 40-member bargaining team and then share it with the 800-member house of delegates. Those delegates are scheduled to vote Wednesday. Parents and community groups rallied at City Hall earlier in the day to urge the school board to agree to the teachers’ demands. CTU wants the city to commit to smaller class sizes as well as more nurses, social workers and librarians.  

RELATED: Many child care options available for CPS parents during potential strike

On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the proposed strike after she met with Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson. She gave an update on the city’s negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union.

“All told, this counter offer provides more than 80 proposed changes to the collective bargaining agreement on the issues requested by the Chicago Teachers Union,” Lightfoot said. “It covers everything the CTU clarified as their core issues.”

After the CTU expressed over the weekend more emphasis on staffing and reducing class size, Lightfoot said the city is ready to work with them. “We have expressed a willingness to find solutions on these two core issues that would be directly written into the contact,” Lightfoot said.  The strike will begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday if a deal is not met.

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