A Chicago Teachers Union negotiator touted progress on Monday in potentially avoiding a planned strike as its members gathered with two support staff unions in a show of unity.
CTU members and support staff represented by two SEIU unions came together on Monday afternoon for a rally at the Chicago Temple ahead of a set strike date of Thursday, Oct. 17. Following the rally, union members marched throughout the Loop.
While Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the union remain at odds over salary, CTU officials said the potential strike was about reducing class sizes and increasing staffing specifically for nurses, librarians and social workers.
In a video posted to Twitter, Mayor Lightfoot sent a message to teachers and staff participating in Monday's rally.
"I want you to know that we hear you, and I respect what you stand for," the mayor said. "My office is taking every step to ensure that you are safe and supported."
On Friday, Mayor Lightfoot's team told teachers that the district had delivered its best and final offer. However, Saturday's bargaining session was characterized as productive discussions, signaling movement from the beginning of negotiations.
If no agreement can be reached, more than 25,000 teachers and staff will walk off the job Thursday morning at 12 a.m.