More than 25,000 Chicago teachers union members are eligible to vote Wednesday on whether to authorize a strike.
While union members vote today Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard was on the Southeast Side, telling parents the vote is premature. “We have been very serious about negotiating in good faith. We want a contract,” said Brizard.
Brizard spent much of the morning at Christian Fellowship Flock Church on the Southeast side meeting with parents at a prearranged gathering. Many are concerned about the teacher contract situation and today’s vote. Brizard believes teachers are lacking information about the talks.
Wednesday morning, CTU President Karen Lewis cast her ballot at King College Prep High School. Union members are seeking a 29 percent raise over two years, noting a much bigger workload due to the longer school day. The district is offering a 2 percent raise.
The union will need 75 percent approval in order to strike. Lewis claims many in the rank-and-file wanted the strike vote and the timing is ideal because of summer break. “We need to make some movement at the table. They need to understand that now we have the voice of 30,000 people at the bargaining table with us. It has to be that. It has to be now,” said Lewis.
If teachers do vote to authorize a strike, and no deal is reached, the earliest they could actually go on strike is the end of August. The last time that happened was in 1987.
The voting is set to go on for a few days. The union hopes to announce the result on Friday.