Chicago gets tentative staff deal as teachers stay on strike
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago schools have canceled classes for a ninth day as talks to end a teachers’ strike appeared stalled Monday.
The district and the Chicago Teachers Union reported some progress late last week but talks stymied over the weekend, keeping classrooms closed for more than 300,000 students.
Both sides signaled Monday that they remain at odds over demands for smaller classes and more staff. The district announced Monday afternoon that classes won’t be held Tuesday.
The teachers’ union has been on strike since Oct. 17, surpassing the length of a 2012 walkout. They have been joined by about 7,500 members of the Service Employees International Union including security guards and classroom aides.
That union reached a tentative agreement with the district on Sunday. But its leaders said members remained on the picket lines alongside teachers Monday and will be there until educators reach their own deal.
“We walked out together; we’ll walk in together,” said Jeffrey Howard, executive vice president of SEIU Local 73.
In a statement on Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the proposed five-year contract for support staff includes a 16% raise and additional pay bumps for special education classroom aides, bus aides and custodians.
Officials with the support staffers’ union declined to discuss details of the contract Monday, saying members should see it first. They said members began voting Monday and will continue through Tuesday evening.
Lightfoot’s statement says the mayor-appointed Board of Education also must ratify the deal.
“I am very pleased we were able to work together to agree on a strong, fair deal that will provide substantial raises and real improvements to working environments, and I commend negotiators on both sides for their tireless effort,” she said.