Just in: The members of the Chicago Teachers Union authorized a strike, if a deal cannot be negotiated with the Chicago Public School board, which is controlled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It is ironic that the state law was changed a few years ago, under pressure from Jonah Edelman and Stand for Children, to make it more difficult for Chicago teachers to strike. The law says that the union must win the approval of 75% of its members. Edelman boasted that CTU would never get 75% to vote for a strike. He was wrong. The CTU proved him wrong in 2012, when it went on strike after a near-unanimous vote. And this week it proved him wrong again. Edelman spent millions on the state’s best lobbyists to hobble the union. He lost; millions wasted that could have been spent putting nurses, teachers of the arts, and a certified librarian in every public school in Chicago.

 

 

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin

 

Chicago Teachers Union Details on Strike Authorization Vote: 96.5% of Educators Say “Yes”

 

CHICAGO – The Chicago Teachers Union released the following details regarding its recent strike authorization vote which was conducted over a three-day period December 9-11, 2015 in all schools where Chicago Teachers Union members are employed. The results indicate the following:

 

No. of Actual Votes: 22,678
No. of Eligible Voters: 24,752

 

Percentage of Members who Voted: 91.6 %
Percentage of Members who Voted ‘Yes’: 88%
No. of ‘Yes’ Votes: 21,782
Percentage of Members who Voted Yes: 96.05%

 
STATEMENT BY CTU VICE PRESIDENT JESSE SHARKEY

“Late last week Teachers, PSRPs, Clinicians—members of the CTU—voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. The actual result was just over 96% of those voting marked ‘Yes’ with a 92% turnout. Rahm, Forrest Claypool—Listen to what teachers and educators are trying to tell you: do not cut the schools anymore, do not make the layoffs that you have threatened; instead, respect educators and give us the tools we need to do our jobs. In particular:

 

(1) Improve the teaching and learning conditions by reducing standardized testing, eliminate time-sucking compliance paperwork, and restore professional respect and autonomy to teachers on matters like grades. These improvements cost nothing;

 

(2) Staff our schools at an adequate level. We deserve reasonable class sizes, instruction in art, music, science and technology, a library with a librarian, a nurse;

 

(3) and, Help our schools and our communities address the social crisis in large swaths of our city. While we do not expect the schools to fix homelessness, broken immigration policy, crisis-level unemployment, and racism, we must address the undeniable fact that these problems spill over into our schools and devastate the lives of our children. We have modest demands to address these problems—allow our counselors to counsel, approve restorative justice programs in targeted schools, help with translation and bilingual services.

 

Chicago Teachers Union members do not want to strike, but we do demand that you listen to us. Do not cut our schools, do not lay off educators or balance the budget on our backs.”