CTU Says Teachers Who Cross Picket Line on April 1 Could be Kicked Out of the Union

The Chicago Teachers Union warned its members not cross the picket line during Friday’s walkout or they could be kicked out of the union.

Union leadership said Monday that teachers who show up to work during the strike would be in violation of union rules and could face potential removal from the uion.

“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.”

Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted last week to approve a one-day school walkout Friday.

The teachers union has said the “April 1 showdown” would address the lack of a state budget that has affected school funding.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Wednesday teachers are encouraged to picket in the morning and gather downtown with other unions at the Thompson Center for a rally.

"We want them to know structural funding needs to change," Lewis said. "We'd like to get this settled at some point or we'll continue to be in same position."

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said Thursday he was "disappointed by CTU's decision."'

"We welcome teachers to come to school," he said. "We hope teachers will come to work that day to help keep kids safe and keep education going."

The district is expected to announce Tuesday plans for where children can go instead of school. 

"For many of our children, school is where kids get meals, so we need to make sure these kids are fed," he said. 

The walkout would mean CPS schools would be shut down for the second Friday in row after schools closed March 25 as part of three unpaid furlough days for teachers. 

Claypool said teachers who do not have a "legitimate reason" not to be at school will not be paid.

"This illegal strike we believe is a shame because it plays into Gov. Rauner's hands," Claypool said. 

Lewis argued, however, the walkout is legal, and that negotiations are set to take place Thursday.

“We are asking for people to take a stand around a social issue which is whether we are going to have public schools in the city,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “This is about teachers and other educators taking a stand with urgency to say fund our schools, fund our public institutions. It’s a matter of necessity.”

CTU leadership has admitted that some teachers have concerns about the walkout. Joining the union Friday are a number of community activists, labor groups, and students.

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