Chicago Teachers Union calls latest offer from city 'insulting' less than a week before possible strike

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In a fiery Friday press conference, the Chicago Teachers Union called the latest offer from the city "insulting," as the possibility of a walkout is less than a week away. The city said it has bent over backward to get a deal done.

The union called the offer "half-baked and wholly deficient."

"The mayor is trying to buy us off," said Stacey Davis Gates, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union.

Friday night the union seemed closer than ever to making good on a strike threat set to start next Thursday.

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"They've spent the last 10 months taking away from us, stealing our time, autonomy, and refusing to address the issues that most affect our students," said Katie Osgood, special education teacher.

The city dropped what it said was its final offer to the union, saying, "Today, our negotiating team presented CTU with yet another comprehensive counteroffer - this one a full 72 pages. We improved our offer significantly from the already historic offer we'd previously made to the CTU. "

"All in all, our offer includes over 80 changes to the collective bargaining agreement on issues requested by the union. We have bent over backwards to meet CTU's concerns," the city continued.

"We said that we need social workers, nurses, librarians, clinicians and special education case managers. Today they offered us a paltry $400,000 a year for the entire district to staff nurses, social workers and case managers. That's barely four positions for the entire district of Chicago," Osgood said.

Thursday, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot celebrated Prescott Elementary being named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, she seemed frustrated by the lack of significant progress in negotiations with the CTU.

"We have made some progress on some issues, but not the core set of issues and compensation, on benefits, insurance, staffing, those issues are still out there to be had," Lightfoot said.

"At this point the city of Chicago needs to ask its chief executive that if you agree that we need smaller class sizes, if you agree we need a nurse in every school, if you agree that we need a social worker in every school then why won't you put it in writing?" said Davis Gates.

The city said they are open and willing to negotiating through the weekend. Both sides will be back at the negotiating table Saturday morning.
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