Chicago teachers, students return to class Friday as 15-day strike ends

Friday, November 1, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

Chicago Public Schools teachers and students return to the classroom Friday after a tentative agreement was reached with the Chicago Teachers Union to end a 15-day strike.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools teachers and students returned to the classroom Friday after a tentative agreement was reached with the Chicago Teachers Union to end a 15-day strike.

The deal still needs to be ratified by the full union. Fifteen days after they walked out of schools together, union members with CTU and SEIU walked right back in together Friday.

"This is an unprecedented thing that happened, right, we have language in the contract regarding class size, we have language in the contract regarding staffing numbers and we've never, ever had that before this is a tremendous victory," said CTU Financial Secretary Maria Moreno.

RELATED: Judge allows 6 Chicago Public Schools cross country teams to compete in sectional meets this weekend

CTU reached an agreement with the city Thursday ending the longest walkout since 1987. The contract itself is the first of its kind with an agreement to establish enforceable class size limits, puts nurses and social workers in every school.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey talks end of strike, compromise made with CPS

In the end, the major sticking point though was make-up days. Teachers said they wouldn't return to work unless all 11 missed school days of the strike were made up and paid. In a last minute deal both sides settled on five days.

Getting that return to work deal only came after a one-on-one session between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CTU President Jesse Sharkey.

"We lost more than a week's pay for this strike, but we can hold our heads high because we accomplished something meaningful," Sharkey said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces CPS has reached agreement with CTU on Thursday

"Strikes are a part of the reality of organized labor. This was tough but it was mostly tough on our kids, tough on our teachers, tough on our families," Mayor Lightfoot said.

An additional 250 nurses and over 200 social workers will be hired, so every school will have one of each by 2023. The new contract also provides raises for support staff, such as teachers' aides and clerks.

The deal includes $35 million for a committee to enforce class size limits.

Lightfoot hasn't yet said how CPS will pay for the contract.

"We spent a lot of time crunching the numbers and feel confident about representations and briefings I received that the money is there to pay for this contract," Lightfoot said.

CPS parents said they are just happy their kids are back in class, and some said their kids felt the same way.

"At this point they were ready to come back," said Treyonda Towns, CPS parent. "They usually don't want to go to school, but they really wanted to be here."

Mom Veronica Lopez, who has three kids in CPS and works overnights.

"A relief, cause now I can go to sleep," she said.

But attendance was lower than normal at many schools, and after canceling events and rescheduling, principals said their priority is to get their schools back on track as soon as possible.

"It's going to take a couple days to figure out some calendar items, but the biggest things are kids and teachers back together, that's what you need to focus on," said Principal Mira Weber.

Related

Chicago teachers strike ends; CTU, CPS reach deal, classes to resume Friday

    Chicago Teachers Strike: CTU has 'tentative agreement' with CPS, but no 'return to work' agreement; no school Thursday

      Chicago Teachers Strike: CTU delegates meet, CPS classes canceled Wednesday; no deal reached

        Chicago Teachers Strike: CPS, CTU negotiations continue, classes canceled Tuesday; city reaches deal with SEIU

          Chicago Strike: Mayor Lori Lightfoot says deal reached with SEIU but standoff with CTU continues; classes canceled Monday

            Chicago Strike: CPS, CTU still haven't worked out 'major issues' as strike enters 11th day

              Chicago Strike: CPS, CTU say 'good progress' made at bargaining table, classes canceled Friday

                Chicago Teachers Strike: CPS cancels classes Wednesday, CTU plans protest at mayor's budget address

                  Chicago Teachers Strike: Chicago Teachers Union says mayor 'dashed our hopes' for quick contract resolution with letter

                    Chicago Teachers Strike: CPS cancels classes Monday as Chicago Teachers Union strike drags on

                      Chicago Teachers Strike: No deal reached on 3rd day of teachers strike, Mayor Lightfoot says CPS classes unlikely to resume Monday

                        Chicago Teachers Strike: Thousands of teachers picket lines for 2nd day but no deal reached; CPS classes remain canceled

                          Chicago teachers strike starts Thursday, Chicago Public School classes canceled

                            Chicago Teachers Strike: CTU, CPS resume negotiations, union says they expect to strike Thursday

                              Chicago Teachers Union demands for staffing increase as strike date nears

                                Mayor Lori Lightfoot says 'urgency' needed from CTU to avert teacher strike