Chicago Teachers Union Goes On Strike

The Chicago Teachers Union is currently on strike because they want higher salaries, more support staff and less crowded schools.


Courtesy of Fox Business

Teachers, parents, and pedestrians have been involved in the strike. According to the Chicago Tribune, the CTU and the CPS are currently negotiating to find solutions.

UPDATE: According to the Chicago Tribune, the teacher strike has been suspended and students will be back to school on Friday, November 1. The CTU and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot agreed to make up five of the missed days of school and improve conditions for support staff.

According to CNBC, teachers’ salaries are slowly increasing. Despite this, teachers are still among one of the lowest-paying professional jobs in the United States. In Chicago, the median pay for teachers is 70 thousand dollars. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) went on strike on Thursday, October 17. The strike is intended to push Chicago Public Schools (CPS) into improving the school environment for both students and teachers.

According to Jack Crosbie of The Atlantic, the CTU is arguing for higher pay to keep up with Chicago’s mounting cost of living; alongside a long list of other requests including smaller class sizes, more school nurses and librarians, funding for bilingual education and access to affordable housing for teachers and their students.

Chicago teachers previously advocated for the improvement of their schools. For example, in 2012, the CTU went on strike for seven days in September. Despite the previous and current protests of teachers the CTU and CPS have yet to agree on a deal.

According to Brendan O’Brien from Reuters, the city could not afford the union’s full demands, which would cost an extra $2.4 billion annually – more than a 30% increase to the current $7.7 billion school budget.

The CTU has stated that they will continue the strike until plans and solutions are proposed by the CPS.  According to WTTW Chicago, on Thursday, October 24, CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade said that the strike needs to end soon.

“We cannot continue to have students out of the classroom, and this impacts the progress we’ve made as a district,” McDade said.

Meanwhile, in Antioch, Sophomore Morgan Aykroid supports the strike and believes that teachers should be given an increase in salary.

“Teachers are the ones who shape future adults,” Aykroid said. “That is a big job, and it sucks that they’re paid as little as they are.”

Despite public officials encouraging them to end the strike, the CTU is continuing to fight for better working and learning conditions for the students and teachers of Chicago.