Chicago Teachers Union meeting ends without strike vote

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Chicago teachers may not go on strike after all. The possibility of CPS teachers walking off the job tops the agenda of the union's meeting Wednesday. (WLS)

Chicago teachers may not go on strike after all. The possibility of CPS teachers walking off the job tops the agenda of the union's meeting Wednesday. But during the meeting, the union never took a vote on a strike or set a strike date. In the past week, union officials have been hinting that if they strike at all they may wait until the fall.

Chicago Public Schools officials are hoping to avoid a strike entirely.

"We continue to negotiate and hope they come to some type of resolution that pushes us towards a fair contract for teachers," says Dr. Janice Jackson, CPS Chief Education Officer.

The governing body for the teacher's union will vote Wednesday on a potential walk out. It means that they could hit the picket lines as early as May 16. But there are indications that a strike may not happen.

CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said there is concern over losing health insurance and end-of-the-year teacher pay checks. The union would also be challenged to win support from parents at the end of the school year.

"Because I used to work for CPS and I do understand how teachers are to kids and to the community, I support them," said Joanna Shelton, a CPS parent.

The union said it wants to continue putting pressure on lawmakers in Springfield to increase funding to CPS.

The district said it has a plan in place in case of a strike, but they believe a contract deal is within reach. CPS has floated the idea of ending its practice of paying for most of the teachers' pension contributions, but in an effort to avert a strike t has backed off on the idea for the moment.

"We know that is one of the things most important to them, so why provoke them if we are trying to reach a solution?" says Jackson.

Parents and students who don't want to see a teacher's strike have their fingers crossed.

"My gut feeling is that they won't strike. I mean, I think that they will probably want the summer to at least think it over and try to reach an agreement," said Colleen Diller, a CPS parent.

If many parents at Nettlehorst Elementary in the city's East Lakeview neighborhood had it their way, all CPS students would finish the school year strike-free.

"I would hope that the teachers wouldn't do that. But at the same time, I hope that they are able to come to an agreement to get the things that they are entitled to," said Sandra Chancio, CPS parent.

"It is hard as a parent, especially as a working parent, because you do have to find, you know, care for your child," said Josanna Shelton, CPS parent.

"I think the teachers have a pretty fair deal overall, compared to the rest of the country," said Colleen Diller, CPS parent.

While a strike this year may not likely, there is always next fall. The union said it won't rule anything out.
Related Topics:
educationchicago teachers unionchicago public schoolscpslawsuitstrikeChicago - Downtown
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