CPS Teachers Lean Against Going on Strike in May

Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey said he’s spoken with delegates and members of the 40-member Big Bargaining Team who’ve expressed financial concerns about walking off the job so late in the school year

Parents in Chicago may not have to worry about a teachers strike this school year. 

The Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey confirmed to NBC 5 Monday that a strike is unlikely to happen this month, but he's not ruling out the possibility of a strike in September. 

State law allowed teachers to walk off the job as early as mid-May, but the union decided against it because it would result in the loss of their salary and health insurance heading into the summer months.

Teachers were also concerned about losing the support of parents who would be forced to find last-minute child care during a disruption to the end of the school year. 

A more likely strike date would be in September, after teachers get their first paychecks of the new school year, Sharkey said. 

Summer months would give both CTU and Chicago Public Schools additional time to come to terms on a new contract. It also gives state legislators time to consider additional school funding proposals. 

The union bargaining committee plan to meet Wednesday to discuss a possible strike date.

The union said in a statement released Monday, however, that members have yet to make an official decision.

"The Union’s members have yet to decide when or if we will go on strike in the coming days or during the next school year. State law requires a 10-day notice to our employer if we intend to do so," CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said in a statement. “Until such notice is given, the CTU is asking all of its members to continue to show solidarity in CPS buildings by wearing red on Fridays, using lunch breaks to talk about long-term revenue solutions and continuing to work with parents and students as this school year creeps to a close. If CPS ends the school year now, it is because its broke-on-purpose budgeting schemes could not afford to keep the doors open in the first place.”

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