Thousands of Chicago Teachers Strike


Claire Payne, Assistant Content Editor

On Friday, April 1st, Chicago Teachers Union rallied and marched downtown on a one-day strike against the Chicago Public Schools. The picketing began early Friday morning and eventually the union was joined by quite a few other labor organizations and students who shared the same opinion of disapproval. Their strike shut down schools for nearly 400,000 students.

The disagreements began when the Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool decided that the schools would no longer do the “pension pickup,” in which they would pay much of the teachers’ share of pension costs. The walkout was to protest their refusal to pay “step and lane” pay increases while there is no new contract. When contacted, the Chicago Teachers Union said the real purpose was to call attention to Springfield’s failure to fund schools properly.

In response to the strike, Chicago Public Schools is trying to block the union from holding another strike that the district describes as “illegal.” The district has also asked the union to cover the costs of providing more than 250 contingency sites, or relocations, for the students while school was closed. Union leaders say the one-day action is legal, but state law is clear that the union can’t strike until other steps have been exhausted.