CTU will not strike May 1, delegates say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Teachers Union delegates met Wednesday night to discuss a possible one-day walkout, but even with an enthusiastic base, CTU did not have enough support to move forward with a proposed strike.

"While there will be no May 1 walkout, we will continue to stand in solidarity with our students, parents...to demand our district received the revenue," said CTU President Karen Lewis.

The union will take part in marches and events on May 1, but school will be open.

Delegates said Wednesday was far from the end of CTU's strike talk.

"Nothing is off the table," said Lewis.

Last month, the CTU asked teachers to discuss a one-day walk out to drawn attention to the Chicago Public Schools budget problems. Some teachers have expressed criticism of a proposal to end school early to save money and unpaid furlough days.

"I really feel for the active teachers here as they are really hurting, all this pay they're losing," said Helen Ramirez-Odell, a retired school nurse.

May 1 is also International Workers Day is celebrated around the world following the Haymarket affair in 1886 in Chicago. That protest started as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day and ended in a deadly riot.

Organizers said this year will be a national day of action to protest the Trump administration's policies, adding that they are happy to have the teachers union join them.

"Their members are active, their leadership stands with this group and they do have a good ability to organize and mobilize, as well, but their leadership is important in our community as well," an organizer said Wednesday.

CPS students and teachers still face the real possibility of being shut out of school for summer nearly three weeks early. CPS is more than $100 million short of being able to finish the school year.

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CTU said it could take part in May 1 rallies instead of striking.

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