CPS Plans Legal Action Against Teachers in Friday Walkout

Chicago Public Schools plans to take legal action against teachers who participate in a one-day strike Friday.

The strike means schools will be closed for the second Friday in a row after the district closed classrooms for a furlough day last week in an effort to save money.

The district called the strike an illegal “wildcat” walkout and said Thursday those who strike will not be paid.

“We’ve heard from many of our teachers who want to work tomorrow so we welcome teachers who want to work,” said Janice Jackson with CPS. “We welcome them into their school buildings or one of the 107 contingency sites. Teachers who do come to work will be paid.”

The Chicago Teachers Union has previously argued the walkout is legal and said teachers who cross the picket line could face removal from the union.

“There’s a strong union principle, which is that you don’t cross the picket line,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “You know, it harms, it might be your personal considerations that might help you, but it hurts your coworkers and it hurts the cause that we’re fighting for.”

The union said it does not believe students will suffer from Friday’s one-day walkout.

“Did they suffer last week when CPS called off for furloughs,” Lewis.

CPS has set up contingency sites for parents to bring kids if they can’t stay home.

Teachers have been without a contract for nine months, but say the main goal for Friday’s walkout is protest the lack of a state budget. Expected to join the Friday picket lines and protests are those unions fighting for $15 an hour wages and several other labor and teacher unions.

“Now is the time to show some urgency because if you hit your snooze button and go back to sleep for another month, when you wake up there’s not going to be any public schools,” Sharkey said.

A full teachers strike, similar to what the city saw in 2012, cannot take place until May 16, state law dictates.  

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