Despite both sides looking to get teachers and students back in the classroom next week, thousands of teachers and supporters gathered in Union Park on Saturday for the Chicago Teachers Union's solidarity rally.
“We are on strike,” CTU President Karen told a crowd estimated to be about 2,500 teachers and supporters decked out in red. “We have a framework; we do not have an agreement.”
The "Wisconsin-style" labor rally organized by CTU began at noon, while officials for CTU and Chicago Public Schools continued to work out details for an agreement to suspend the strike and get students back into the classroom by Monday.
Lewis was one of 20 speakers who spoke at the event which lasted over two hours. Her message in her speech was clear. The work is not over yet, despite both sides being close and she is not backing down.
"I would like for 125 South Clark to be stable," Lewis said, referencing the address of CPS Headquarters. "If it's not stable at the top, how will it be stable at the bottom."
Meanwhile, talks continue between CPS and CTU at the offices of union attorney Robert Bloch.
CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey was optimistic that an agreement would be drafted for the House of Delegates for approval by Sunday.
"We're hopeful that we can do it but frankly like I said, the devil is in the details of this contract and we want it in writing," he said. "We're going to go in today and hammer (out) the details."
Chicago's first teacher strike in 25 years could end Sunday if the union's House of Delegates approves that action. The delegates are not the one who will sign off on the new contract, however, union leadership explained. That responsibility remains with the union rank and file.