CTU Strike Day Three: Parents, Teachers Continue the Fight
The Chicago Teachers Union strike reached its third day Wednesday, as teachers and The Chicago School Board met for another round of negotiations. CTU officials downplayed the potentials for a quick resolution, saying school board officials have not been willing to make substantial compromises. The school board claimed that it had given the union a new proposal Tuesday and was demanding a formal response.
"It's going to take time to work things out," teachers union President Karen Lewis said. "It's also going to take the will to make compromises. We have made quite a few. We would like to see more on their side."
"We looked at the comprehensive package," Lewis said. "There's some movement forward. There's some movement backward. And what we would like to do is continue to move forward."
The teachers, who began their strike on Monday, are demanding improved conditions for teachers and students within the school system. Specifically, the Union's ire was prompted by a series of reforms proposed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, some of which have already been pushed through. The reforms include increased teacher working hours (by 20%), a cut to a promised 4% pay rise in half, major funding cuts to public schools, mass teacher lay-offs, and the opening of 60 new privatized, non-union "charter" schools in the next five years.
So far, Chicago parents have largely supported the strike, according the Associated Press. Many parents have joined teachers on the picket lines, some with their children. "Other parents are honking their encouragement from cars or planting yard signs that announce their support in English and Spanish," AP reports.
The Chicago Sun-Times conducted a telephone poll Monday, which showed nearly half of people surveyed said they supported the teachers union, compared with 39 percent who oppose the strike.
Thousands of people marched through downtown Chicago for the second straight day on Tuesday in support of the CTU's struggle.