Charter School Teacher's Unions Vote to Authorize Strike

Earlier in the week, teachers at Acero-run schools also voted to authorize a strike

Just days after charter school teachers in some Chicago-area schools voted to authorize a strike, another group of teachers has followed suit.

On Friday, teachers at schools operated by Civitas Education Partners and Quest Management voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. According to the Chicago Teachers Union, 96 percent of teachers voted in favor of a strike authorization.

Civitas Education Partners issued a statement after the vote Friday, saying that they have offered an increase in teacher salaries and a “step and lane salary schedule.”

“We agree that our teachers should make more money and we have proposed a step and lane salary schedule that would result in a 4.4 percent increase to teacher salaries this year,” the company said. “This is in addition to the over $325,000 per year we pay to union members in attendance incentives, longevity bonuses and stipend opportunities.

Teachers at schools operated by Acero voted to authorize a strike on Wednesday, but that company is still offering to negotiate with teachers to avoid a work stoppage.

That strike could potentially impact 15 charter schools, with over 500 teachers and 8,000 students affected. If either strike moves forward, it would be the first at a charter school in history.

“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.”

Both unions are seeking higher wages, better working conditions, and better treatment for all teachers, including special education teachers and paraprofessionals.

 “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,” Acero Chief External Affairs Officer Helena 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.”

It is not known when a vote to go on strike could take place.

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