Chicago Public Schools support staff, Park District workers deliver strike notices to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's City Hall office

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools support staff and Chicago Park District workers are threatening to strike in the coming weeks.

This comes as the Chicago Teacher's Union is resuming contract talks, which could determine whether their members will walk off the job.

It's a triple threat to the city and Mayor Lori Lightfoot believes it can all be avoided.

"We should get a deal done," she said. "Every single one of these unions whether it's CTU, whether it's SEIU for the schools or SEIU for the parks. We put out very specific, fulsome proposals and we need at least a counter at the table. So let's get the deal done."

Mayor Lightfoot spoke to the media as the city holds tight to the 16 percent raise over five years for CPS teachers.

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The Chicago Teachers Union, however, is still pressuring the city for more nurses, counselors and librarians. Wages and healthcare costs are the primary issues.

"If we are able to strike the deal that we've, on the terms that we've proposed, you were looking at people getting 7% increases, 9% increases, 15% increases," Lightfoot said.

Wednesday, teacher's union delegates will vote to set a strike date. The earliest they could walk off the job is October 7.

Meanwhile, Chicago Park District workers and CPS support staff members including bus aides and classroom assistants are ready to strike over pay, benefits, workplace issues and job parameters.

Their union hand delivered strike notices to the mayor's office at City Hall and they could walk out within the next two weeks.

"Yes, we are all looking to potentially strike at the same time and that's because we are supporting each other because we are all fighting for virtually the same thing and we need to stand together," said Park District employee Becky Kliber.

With the teachers, the park district employees and CPS support staff, the city could see three strikes at one time during the month of October, which would mean about 35,000 workers could be walking the picket lines.

If the teachers and the park district were to walk out around the same time, that could be problematic for CPS parents who rely on park district programming for an alternative to school if it's not in session.

"We got a sympathetic ear, we didn't get anything in writing, we'll see where that puts us," said Jesse Sharkey, CTU President.

The mayor said the city does have a contingency plan for that, but again believes it can be avoided.

"What I want is really bargaining, what I want are written counter proposals on the issues that we have put on the table, we are wasting precious time," the Mayor said.

The teachers are in a bargaining session with the city again Tuesday.

The two groups represented by SEIU Local 73 could walk off of the job as soon as October 8th and October 15th.
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