Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Teachers, Lightfoot Reach Agreement to End Strike

Kids will make up five days of missed classes and return to school Friday

The Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have reached an agreement to end the teachers strike after 11 days of canceled classes.

"I'm happy to announce that we have reached an agreement with CTU President Jesse Sharkey," Lightfoot told reporters. "Classes will resume tomorrow."

"We feel like we achieved a lot of things," Sharkey said in a separate press conference. "There are some things we didn’t achieve, but it’s not a day for photo opps and victory laps."

Lightfoot and the Chicago Teachers Union called for compromise earlier in the day on making up missed school days, the final sticking point in negotiations.

In the end, kids will make up five days and return to school Friday, she said.

Lightfoot noted she invited Sharkey to make a joint announcement about the strike's resolution and said he declined.

"Frankly, our members are still out there on picket lines," Sharkey said in response. "They don’t need to see me smiling with the mayor when in fact what they need to see is we have a tentative agreement, we have a return to work agreement." 

The strike marked its 11th day of canceled classes Thursday, even after teachers revealed a "monumental agreement" had been reached.

While the agreement was announced just after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the CTU said no agreement had been reached on making up lost school days.

Lightfoot acknowledged Thursday that she is willing to negotiate and encouraged the two groups to come together "get this done so we can have our kids back in school [Friday]." She noted, however, that making up all of the missed days was a "nonstarter." 

"What I'm not willing to do is a take-it-or-leave-it, unilateral demand, which is what they’ve given me," she said, adding "this is on them." 

CPS CEO Janice Jackson said "there's really no way" to make up the missed school days.

"The only way to make up 11 days is to really disrupt families' plans that have already been made," she said.  

CTU President Jesse Sharkey said later Thursday morning that the union wants to "discuss it."

"It can't be 0 - that's not an acceptable number to us," he said, moments before returning to City Hall for negotiations.

Sharkey said he hopes to reach an agreement in time to resume school Friday. 

"I’m not trying to extend this strike indefinitely in order to get more instructional time, that doesn’t make much sense," he said, noting that making up 11 days is "probably not going to be feasible." 

"I will discuss it and we will have to make a compromise about a number of days that makes sense," he added. 

More than 25,000 teachers and support staff in CTU, as well as roughly 7,500 school employees in Service Employees International Union Local 73, went on strike Oct. 17, canceling school for more than 300,000 students in the country's third-largest school district. SEIU approved an agreement with the district on Wednesday. 

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