Chicago Public Schools canceled classes Wednesday for the 10th consecutive day after a dramatic few days of negotiations and deliberation in the ongoing teachers strike.
The Chicago Teachers Union held a House of Delegates meeting Tuesday evening after a marathon 16-hour bargaining session the day before failed to yield an agreement.
Bargaining continued Tuesday morning into the afternoon before the union's meeting, which CTU said was to give its more than 800 delegates a "detailed presentation of where bargaining stands on both resolved and outstanding issues," accusing CPS and Mayor Lori Lightfoot of misleading the public by sending a robocall that the meeting was to vote on the district's latest proposal.
“We were still at City Hall, talking to the mayor as late as four in the afternoon and that was productive, respectful,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said at a news conference Tuesday evening.
“Based on how it goes tomorrow, if there’s a tentative agreement, we would bring in our delegates in the afternoon," Sharkey said. “I think that we have seen meaningful and important offers on those items and issues, but I’ve got to actually see the written language.”
After accusing CTU's bargaining team of moving the goal posts in negotiations the day before, Lightfoot on Wednesday said she was "hopeful" the union would accept the district's latest offer.
"This has been a long journey," Lightfoot said at a news conference after reading with students at Kennicott Park. "Unfortunately, I think there's a lot of harm that's been done to our young people, but my hope is that when the House of Delegates reconvenes today that there will be a robust presentation of the tentative agreement that's on the table and that they will vote on it up or down."
Lightfoot said the district's team put a proposal on the table Tuesday and asked the union's bargaining team to take it to the House of Delegates, but acknowledged that CTU did not commit to doing so.
"My understanding is that there was a discussion of the parameters of the deal last night and that this was going to be socialized over the course of last night and this morning and then they would go back to the House of Delegates today," Lightfoot said. "But obviously, I don't run the CTU, so I'm hopeful and aspirational but really the ball's in their court as to whether or not they present the deal and whether or not they want to end the strike."
CTU's statement early Wednesday said negotiations were seeing progress, but that there were "significant issues still unresolved" like the length of the contract, prep time for teachers, particularly in elementary schools, and standardized testing.
More than 25,000 teachers and support staff in CTU, as well as roughly 7,500 school employees in Service Employees International Union Local 73, went on strike Oct. 17, canceling school for more than 300,000 students in the country's third-largest school district. SEIU announced a tentative agreement with the district on Sunday but said its members would continue to picket with CTU until a deal is reached.