When the House of Delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union met yesterday at Lane Tech, they voted to file a ten-day strike notice. CTU President Karen Lewis told the reporters in the parking lot next to Lane that the leadership was given authority to choose the date of a strike if one becomes necessary.
I think the vote sends three messages:
- It is a legal requirement.
- It puts pressure on the board, CEO JC Brizard and, of course, Rahm Emanuel.
- It says that the interim agreement, signed several weeks ago on the longer school day, is not working as promised.
Frankly, when I read the interim agreement I took note that it did not specifically say that the teachers that were to be rehired were to be music, art or PE teachers. It seemed to me then that the agreement required and would be a sign of whether there was honest intent on the part of the board and the Mayor.
That question has been answered in the negative.
If the longer day was to be a better day, than CPS has had ample time to demonstrate that with the opening of E-track schools.
Lewis made clear that the board has failed.
Lewis gave a litany of grievances at this morning’s press conference including that the interim agreement on a longer school day has not meant a “better day” but instead was rolled out “haphazardly and ridiculously.” For example, part of the deal is that CPS would give jobs to 477 recently laid off teachers. But the union says they are in the dark about this hiring process.
CPS is also allegedly ignoring matters dear to CTU like a reduction in class size and a desire for more social workers. “We have in this city 400,000 children and 370 social workers,” Lewis says. “No one in the city should think this is tolerable.”