Hundreds of Chicago teachers are a big step closer to walking off the job after voting to authorize a strike on Tuesday night.
Chicago Teachers Union educators at Acero charter schools in the city
Voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, with 98 percent of those present at the meeting voting to walk out of work.
A potential strike could affect 15 charter schools in Chicago, impacting about 500 teachers and over 8,000 students. The teacher’s union says that if the strike moves forward, it would be the first ever strike at a charter school in the United States.
“We’re fighting for educational justice,” Andy Crooks, the president of Acero’s division of CTU educators, said in a statement. “Our teachers, paraprofessionals, office coordinators, and IT staff work longer hours in a longer school day and year for less than public schools. That’s got to change.”
The union is seeking higher wages and better working conditions, and is also looking for better treatment for special education teachers and paraprofessionals.
Helena Stangle, Chief External Affairs Officer for Acero, called the potential strike “unfair,” and that the company will continue to negotiate with teachers even after the vote.
“It is unfair to parents and students to threaten to disrupt classes when Acero Schools is more than willing to continue negotiations and work with the federal mediator brought in this weekend,” Stangle told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Regardless, we will continue to negotiate in good faith. We are committed to reaching an agreement that provides a reasonable and competitive compensation package for our teachers and staff while maintaining the best possible educational outcomes for our students.”
Educators at four other Chicago-area charter schools will also take a strike vote Friday to determine whether they will join the proposed strike effort.