CTU: Strike Authorization Vote June 6

The Chicago Teachers Union needs 75 percent in favor of a vote to authorize work stoppage

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says teachers are tired of being "bullied, belittled, and betrayed by the district." Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Friday, Jun 1, 2012)

    Chicago teachers on June 6 will take another step toward a work stoppage.

    "We are tired of being bullied, belittled, and betrayed by the district, and by the City of Chicago," Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said Friday afternoon.

    This latest move comes in response to ongoing contract negotiations between the union and CPS. If members authorize a strike, union leadership will have the final say as to if and when that happens.

    Lewis said the vote will take place next week because members will still be in school and not on vacation.

    Teachers maintain the district's latest offer will lead to larger class sizes, more children being expelled and lower achievement levels among all students. It would also lengthen the school day without the necessary staff, inadequately compensate teachers and would not provide adequate job security.

    Chicago's CEO of Schools, Jean-Claude Brizard, on Friday pleaded with the union to hold off on a strike.

    "Until negotiations with the independent fact finder are complete, and his compromise proposal has been released on July 16, any move toward a strike would only hurt our kids and school communities," he said.

    Brizard added that teachers deserve a raise for their work.

    "We've heard for instance that we want to cut the teachers' salary. That's not true," he said. "We expect teachers to get a raise. We want them to get a raise. We want to respect them in the process."

    Lewis said the union doesn't need to wait for the independent review to be completed.

    "State law does not prohibit us from taking a strike authorization vote now, and does not require us to wait for after fact-finding to do so," she said.

    State law requires 75 percent of union members to vote favorably for a strike in order to authorize any work stoppage. The last "strike" was more than 20 years ago.

    In April, "mock strike" votes showed overwhelming support for a walk-out.