Chicago’s mayor canceled Thursday public-school classes ahead of an expected strike by the teachers union. The strike is not only about money demand.
The Chicago Teachers Union has asked for a 15% raise over three years. The union also wants smaller class sizes and the district to hire more counselors, nurses, social workers and other support staffers. The mayor said she’s offered a 16% pay raise and bent over backward to meet the union’s key concerns. Other demands will be considered later. Union President Jesse Sharkey said that parents should prepare for “a short-term strike,” adding that he doesn’t know how long it could last.
If the strike happens, school buses won’t run. School officials said they plan to keep campuses open, overseen by staff, during the strike, to give students meals and a safe place to go. Regular classroom instruction would stop, but students would be engaged with activities. 2012 strike over contract disagreements lasted seven days. n the past couple of years, thousands of teachers in at least 10 states and dozens of school districts have struck, mostly over salaries and education funding. Chicago parents, community groups push for deal to avoid strike. The deadline for a deal is fast approaching.