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CTU gears up for 'strike authorization vote' today

ElectionsChicago Public SchoolsJean-Claude Brizard

The Chicago Teachers Union is preparing on Tuesday for a "strike authorization vote" planned for Wednesday.       

CTU President Karen Lewis and other union leaders visited schools across the city to distribute ballots and voting materials.

Rank-and-file teachers will be allowed to vote before and after the school day.

Lewis, Vice President Jesse Sharkey and Recording Secretary Michael Brunson will cast their ballots at the schools where they taught.

Lewis claims many teachers are eager to authorize a strike.

The CTU is taking this step as it battles Chicago Public Schools over a new contract. The current contract expires on June 30th. The two sides are at serious odds over class sizes, wages, job security, and instruction time.

“I don’t think it’s a scare tactic. But, I think it is leverage. There are differences. We want to move the negotiations off of… we want to move them in a different direction, and we want to move them in a direction that is infinitely more respectful of what our professionals and paraprofessionals do," said Lewis. 

CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard is optimistic about reaching a deal.  

State law requires 75 percent of Union members vote in favor of a strike before there can be a work stoppage.

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