Chicago Teachers Union strike at 2 Instituto del Progreso Latino charter schools enters 2nd day

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
CTU strike at 2 Chicago charter schools enters 2nd day
Chicago Teachers Union strike at two Instituto del Progreso Latino charters schools entered a second day Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Teachers at two Chicago charter schools are on strike and it's impacting hundreds of students.

The Chicago Teachers Union said bargaining went into the morning hours and that negotiations were productive, but they said all of the big issues have not been resolved.

About 60 teachers at two charter schools around the Little Village neighborhood hit the picket lines for a second day in a row.

Low staffing at Instituto Health and Science Career Academy and Instituto Justice Leadership Academy remain the biggest issues.

"We're asking for special education teachers," teacher Gabriela Solis said. "We're asking for bilingual teachers who are qualified to serve our students."

"This is my third year here at ISHCA and unfortunately, it's been a revolving door," teacher Alexsandra Villareal said. "We've lost a lot of educators because of the working conditions and the lack of resources."

The two charter schools serve about 550 students who are not in class Wednesday due to the work stoppage.

The teachers, who are represented by the Chicago Teachers Union, said negotiations progressed overnight, but not enough.

"On the first day of the strike we received proposals from management," Jen Conant with CTU said. "We are hoping to receive some today. We hope that Instituto acts with more urgency today, that we get some written proposals, and that we can come to an agreement."

Instituto officials said they remain committed to bargaining in good faith and school buildings will be open for students even though teachers will not be there.

Meanwhile, the president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers joined teachers on the picket lines Wednesday morning.

"We have thousands of contracts in every school district all across the state, but this Instituto cannot find their way to yes, for their children, that's unacceptable," Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, said.

Instituto said in a statement that it, " remains committed to good faith bargaining and have been meeting with the union team each day since last Friday. Despite ongoing negotiations our schools remain open to our students, where they have been receiving academic support, college and career coaching, as well as ESL lessons for our newly arrived students. Yesterday, Tuesday, February 6th, 85 Instituto students were present at school, while today, that number has grown to over 107 students between both Instituto schools. That growing number, despite the ongoing strike, compounds the fact that our students and families value the importance of education without interruptions. It should also be noted that this student number has grown, despite efforts from CTU members to dissuade and block students from entering our schools.

"We look forward to continuing negotiations today and remain steadfast in our commitment to achieve a fair contract for all parties involved."

The CTU said they are back at the bargaining table again Wednesday.