CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Teachers Union members at two charter schools went on strike Tuesday.
About 60 Chicago Teachers Union educators at two charter schools run by Instituto del Progreso Latino are striking Tuesday morning outside Instituto Health and Science career Academy in the 2500-block of South Western Avenue and Instituto Justice Leadership Academy.
Union members said their concerns include low bilingual staffing, better pay, protections for immigrant students and staff and a lack of special education teachers.
"It's just been very difficult because we don't have any special education teachers any case managers," Carina Gutierrez, a school mentor at Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy, said. "We have one social worker for both schools and it's been really difficult."
"Staffing issue is the main problem with the entire organization... I think," Louis Lucas, Instituto Career and Health Sciences Academy science teacher.
The two privately run charter schools enroll a total of 550 students. Both are overseen by the Chicago Board of Education since they are publicly funded.
Instituto officials have said they remain committed to bargaining in good faith.
They also say they have made fair proposals and are proud of their commitment to protect immigrant students. But the Chicago Teachers Union said they can do better.
"We know that Instituto has the funds to improve things," Jen Conant, chair of the CTU charter division, said. "Other charter operators have met these demands about having fully staffed schools and we know that Instituto can do the same."
The school buildings are open for students Tuesday, but no educators are teaching....
The Chicago Teachers Union president called on school management to end this strike now.
"Come to the table seriously," CTU president Stacey Davis Gates said. "Right now they have a real estate attorney, negotiating a labor contract."
Union members said they are close on a few of the issues but far apart on others. Meanwhile, there is a bargaining session set for Tuesday.