'When We Fight, We Win!': After 11-Day Strike, Chicago Teachers Reach Deal With Mayor
Chicago public school teachers and their supporters celebrated Thursday after reaching a deal with Mayor Lori Lightfoot that will enable educators to return to classrooms Friday and make up five days of missed pay from the 11-day strike.
The agreement came out of a two-hour meeting at City Hall between Lightfoot and Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) president Jesse Sharkey, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. It followed CTU’s governing body voting late Wednesday in favor of a tentative deal—contingent on makeup days—and Lightfoot saying Thursday morning that she wanted the union “to come to the table to compromise” on the matter.
On Twitter, CTU confirmed that the strike is over and classes will resume Friday:
The city’s teachers, as Common Dreams has reported, decided to strike after months of negotiations over not only pay and benefits for union members but also steps the city can take to improve school conditions for students in a the nation’s third-largest district, which serves about 300,000 children. CTU demanded more counselors, social workers, nurses, and teachers for English-language-learners to meet students’ needs.
Teachers who participated in the strike and their allies took to social media Thursday to celebrate the agreement:
“What a beautiful day for worker power,” National Employment Law Project wrote on Twitter, sharing CTU’s announcement. “Thanks so much for your dedication and courage.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates who supported the strike, tweeted: “Congratulations to the teachers and support staff of [CTU] on reaching an agreement with the city. Unions are on the front lines of the struggle for justice in education, and I stand with them in this important fight for what Chicago’s students and families deserve.”
Amisha Patel, executive director of Grassroots Collaborative said in a statement Thursday that “this tentative agreement marks a historic advancement in the fight for educational justice reforms. It codifies in writing a commitment towards greater racial equity and the schools Chicago’s children deserve.”
“The lives of Chicago’s students and parents will be improved as a direct result of this strike,” Patel added. “For over a decade, the Chicago Teachers’ Union, a member of Grassroots Collaborative, has fought to improve the conditions not only in their students’ classrooms but in their neighborhoods and communities as well. The advancements made in this tentative agreement demonstrate what is possible when labor unions and community residents come together to bargain for the common good.”
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