clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

CTU strike, Day 13: No deal. No classes Wednesday. Will delegates vote to end strike?

Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave the union a new offer Tuesday.

Jacob Wittich/Sun-Times

The 13th day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike started off on a few positive notes. After a marathon 16-hour negotiations on Monday, it seemed like a a deal could be made Tuesday.

That didn’t end up happening. Here’s what did happen on the 13th day of the teachers strike.

9:30 p.m. CTU delegates meet, will mull new offer and possibly vote Wednesday

CTU held a meeting of its House of Delegates, where officials said they want the union’s 25,000 members to review a new offer from Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

At the meeting, they discussed the status of contract talks and afterwards, union leaders said they will continue to negotiating tomorrow morning in an effort to get a deal.

If that goes well, they could host another House of Delegates meeting where a vote to call of the strike could take place, CTU president Jesse Sharkey said.

Read Nader Issa’s update from outside the meeting here.

9:10 p.m. City’s Latino Caucus urges Lightfoot to accept CTU’s demands

The 12 members of the city’s Latino Caucus are urging Mayor Lori Lightfoot to accede Chicago Teachers Union demands and end the strike.

In a statement, the group said they met Tuesday with leadership from both the CTU and Chicago Public Schools. The caucus noted that Latino students represent 47% of students in CPS.

In the group’s opinion, the two sides are very close to a deal.

Matthew Hendrickson has more. Click here to read his full report.

8:40 p.m. Classes canceled Wednesday

Chicago Public Schools have canceled Wednesday classes as the Chicago Teachers Union strike moves into its 14th day. Wednesday will be the 10th day of missed classes.

Alison Martin

7:22 p.m. PSATs rescheduled due to strike

Chicago Public Schools sophomores and juniors will not be taking the PSAT Wednesday even if classes resume.

The college admissions test has been rescheduled to ensure all students “have optimal testing conditions,” according to a CPS Instagram post.

An email from Whitney Young Magnet High School said juniors can send their April 2020 SAT test scores to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for scholarship funding consideration.

The Chicago Teachers Union is currently meeting with union delegates on the Near West Side to discuss the strike. Thus far, CPS has not canceled Wednesday classes.

Alison Martin

5:35 p.m. Lightfoot makes new offer to end strike ahead of key CTU meeting

Mayor Lori Lightfoot hand-delivered a new proposal Tuesday afternoon to the top leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union in an effort to end the teachers strike that has roiled the city for nearly two weeks.

But the mayor and the union officials walked out of their second City Hall meeting of the day without a tentative agreement ahead of a key gathering of union delegates later in the evening.

The offer, labeled a “proposed tentative agreement” and obtained by the Sun-Times, includes: A five year-deal with 16% pay raises over that term, a nurse and social worker in every school by July 2023 and millions more than previously offered to address overcrowded classes.

Nader Issa has the full story. Click here to read it.

3:33 p.m. Deadline looms for CPS football teams to remain in state playoffs

Chicago Public Schools football teams have a few more hours before they will have to forfeit state playoff games.

IHSA spokesperson Matt Troha said Tuesday afternoon that it would be possible for football teams to practice on Wednesday even if classes are canceled.

“If [the CPS and CTU] settle late tonight or at a reasonable time tomorrow for the teams to gather and practice, that would meet our policy,” Troha said.

The IHSA’s bylaws require a football team to have three practices before playing a game if the team hasn’t practiced in seven days. CPS teams have now missed 11 days of practice due to the strike, so the rule kicks in. Unless the teams practice on Wednesday they will not have enough days to get three practices in before the playoff games on Saturday.

Michael O’Brien

Michael O’Brien has more on how the teachers strike is affecting CPS sports teams.

2:51 p.m. CTU leadership meets with City Council’s Hispanic Caucus

2:24 p.m. CTU protesters arrested at Sterling Bay

Nine members of the Chicago Teachers Union demonstrating inside Sterling Bay headquarters have been arrested, a Chicago police spokeswoman confirmed to the Sun-Times.

Teachers had gathered at the entrance to the building “to deliver a letter,” CTU leader Chris Baehrend said.

“We want [Sterling Bay] to renegotiate with the mayor,” he said of TIF funding for the Lincoln Yards development. “We have a team inside with the letter asking for a meeting with the CEO,” he said.

(Scroll down to read CTU’s letter to Sterling Bay)

“We have members in front who’ve locked arms who are willing to take an arrest to hold Sterling Bay accountable for their greed at the expense of our students,” Baehrend said.

The development company behind the Lincoln Yards project issued a statement via Twitter asserting that the police presence was not at their request:

CTU spokeswoman Chris Geovanis wouldn’t comment on whether CTU would pick up any expenses incurred by members who risked arrest. “We support our members’ first amendment rights,” she said.

“We’ll be back. We’ll be back,” CTU members outside the building chanted as they left.

— Mitch Dudek and David Struett

1:37 p.m. CPS students hold press conference to express solidarity with teachers

With classes canceled for a ninth straight day, a group of Chicago Public Schools students gathered Tuesday in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood to push for a seat at the bargaining table.

Daysha Del Valle, a senior at Crane Medical Preparatory High School, was among a dozen students who held a news conference at the headquarters of Healthy Hood Chicago, a nonprofit located within the Lincoln United Methodist Church at 2242 S. Damen Ave. The young activists included a first grader at Ruiz Elementary School and a charter school student who took the day off to stand in solidarity with his friends.

Daysha Del Valle (center, black t-shirt), a senior at Crane Medical Prep High School, and other students held a news conference Tuesday at Healthy Hood, 2242 S. Damen Ave.
Daysha Del Valle (center, black t-shirt), a senior at Crane Medical Prep High School, and other students held a news conference Tuesday at Healthy Hood, 2242 S. Damen Ave.
Tom Schuba/Sun-Times

During a spirited appeal, Del Valle pledged support to the striking teachers and criticized Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budgeting priorities, claiming the mayor has been “screwing” students since she took office.

“It is our education and we want a seat at the table,” said Del Valle.

Del Valle also reiterated some of the Chicago Teachers Unions’ key demands — pushing for smaller class sizes, more preparation time for educators and a nurse, counselor and librarians in every school.

She told the Sun-Times that she has felt the adverse affects of the ongoing strike, noting that teachers and counselors have been incommunicado as she pushes up against a Friday deadline to get applications for early admittance submitted to a handful of Chicago colleges and Universities. Nevertheless, she said students “need to keep fighting alongside our teachers.”

“If we didn’t strike this year, it would affect next year’s students, the students the following year and the year after that. We should not have to fight that long for things we deserve,” she said.

Oswaldo Vecerra ditched Tuesday’s classes at Mansueto High School, a charter school in Brighton Park, to talk to reporters.

“We’re all students and we all deserve what we need in our schools,” said Vecerra, who previously attended Ruiz Elementary.

“I’m lucky enough to have a school where I have some of those privileges they’re asking for. It doesn’t mean any other student should be treated [a] different way.”

Tom Schuba

1:21 p.m. CTU teachers lock arms, blocking entrance to Sterling Bay

After rallying at the site of the site of Lincoln Yards, a development project of Sterling Bay, some CTU members traveled to the company’s headquarters at 1330 W. Fulton St. to deliver a letter addressed to CEO Andy Gloor asking Sterling Bay to renegotiate its TIF deal with the city.

“Our children deserve fully-funded schools with the supports they need to thrive — including a nurse, social worker, counselor and librarian in every school,” it begins.

“We are being told by Mayor Lightfoot that she cannot find the remaining $38 million to close the gap, to get these basic necessities put in writing in the contract...

“We call on you to renegotiate the Lincoln Yards TIF deal. Sterling Bay brought in a whopping $1.9 billion in revenue off real estate sales in Chicago in the past two years. Chicago’s children need $38 million far more than Sterling Bay.”

CTU members acknowledge they risk being arrested for this action. One group of teachers is sitting outside the front doors. A separate group of teachers is blocking an interior passageway.

No arrests yet.

Mitch Dudek

Read the full letter:

12:39 CTU delegates will meet Tuesday night

The Chicago Teachers Union has called in its House of Delegates for a key meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the state of negotiations with Chicago Public Schools.

The meeting will bring the union’s 800-plus school-level delegates up to date on the latest talks and could set the stage for either a vote on the school district’s current offer or another meeting in the next day or two for the governing body to end the now nine-day strike.

The delegates are set to meet at 6 p.m. at the CTU’s Near West Side headquarters.

Nader Issa

11:54 a.m. Mayor Lori Lightfoot weighs in on contract talks

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday that a deal to end the teachers strike is being held up because the Chicago Teachers Union is bringing up “issues that do not belong in any collective bargaining contract.”

For instance, “they’re demanding that I support a specific bill about an elected school board,” Lightfoot said at a City Hall news conference.

“That is a citywide conversation that must be had ... with many stakeholders at the table.”

Lightfoot continued:

“Are we really keeping our kids out of class unless I agree to support CTU’s full legislative agenda wholesale? Stop throwing more items at the wall.”

Read more about Lightfoot’s latest remarks on negotiations from Fran Spielman.

The union delayed a planned news conference in the West Loop when it became clear it would be at the same time as the mayor’s meeting with reporters, but CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates tweeted earlier this morning:

The union told the Sun-Times they will start their news conference within the hour.

Sun-Times staff report

11:06 a.m. CPS, CTU back at the bargaining table

Speaking to reporters outside Malcolm X College, where contract talks were set to resume, CPS chief education officer LaTanya McDade said CTU has put some “new issues” on the table “that are concerns for us, that are keeping us from getting a deal.”

McDade said CPS has met CTU’s demands in writing on class size and staffing levels. “And yet, our students are not in school,” she said.

Stefano Esposito

10:47 a.m. CPS, CTU back at the bargaining table

Noticeably absent from the union rally at the Hideout were members of the Chicago Teachers Union negotiating team.

“Our officers got called back to bargaining so they will not be here with us today,” one CTU speaker said at the mic Tuesday morning.

The most recent contract talks between CPS and the teachers union started Monday and lasted for 16 hours before the two sides parted ways about 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. By 10 a.m. Tuesday, a mere eight hours later, negotiations were set to resume at Malcolm X College.

Union president Jesse Sharkey and vice president Stacy Davis Gates did not address the media after negotiations ended early Tuesday morning.

LaTanya McDade, the district’s chief education officer and second in command to schools chief Janice Jackson, said CPS would return to the bargaining table “with that same hope, trying to reach an agreement that gets our students back in the classroom.”

10:33 a.m. Why the Hideout is today’s CTU rally HQ

Tim Tuten, president and co-owner of the Hideout, is also a 22-year veteran social studies teacher at Nancy B. Jefferson High School. His venue skirts the Lincoln Yards site and is hosting the rally right now that brought thousands of teachers to Wabansia and Ada streets.

He told us why he offered up his event space to the teachers today:

Hideout owner Tim Tuten.
Hideout owner Tim Tuten.
Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

”They’re trying to make a very serious point. The city, was able— the previous mayor was able to push through billions of dollars in TIFs for Sterling Bay, for Lincoln Yards, for The 78, but we can’t come up with 38 to 100 million more dollars for teachers?

“We are right here in Lincoln Yards, that received over $1 billion. And the city is making sure that that TIF follows through, why can’t they follow through with the union, so that we can get our schools open?”

Students, parents and teachers are taking turns at the mic in front of the Hideout — and the bar, which Tuten opened early, is packed.

Mitch Dudek

Teachers rally outside the Hideout near Lincoln Yards on Oct. 29, 2019.
Teachers rally outside the Hideout near Lincoln Yards on Oct. 29, 2019.
Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

9:37 a.m. Teachers gear up for union rally

Marchers are now flooding into a park that Sterling Bay built as part of its Lincoln Yards project. The park is across the street from the Hideout tavern. A soundstage has been set up right in front of the Hideout that Chicago Teachers Union officials are using to rev up their members.

9:22 a.m. Thousands of teachers converge on Lincoln Yards

Their signs are a bit worn, but their energy remains high. Thousands of teachers began marching at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning from Oscar Mayer Magnet School in Lincoln Park to the nearby site of the Lincoln Yards development, which is on land previously occupied by Finkl Steel.

Chants include: “We want libraries we want books we want the money that Lincoln Yards took.” With temperatures in the 40s, marchers are bundled up.

Teachers union leaders continue to ask: How is it that the city can afford to cut developers financial breaks, but can’t afford to fund teacher contract needs?

Mitch Dudek

8:32 a.m. Teachers begin march to Lincoln Yards

CTU said teachers would gather at the Lincoln Yards development site “because it’s being funded in part by TIF money that should be going to our schools.”

By 8:30 a.m. Monday, teachers union members were converging on the site bounded by Southport Avenue, Cortland Street and Kingsbury Street.

7:59 a.m. CTU members join picketing teacher assistants in Decatur

Instead of heading to Lincoln Yards to protest for a CPS contract Tuesday, handful of Chicago teachers will be traveling three hours south to Decatur to join picket lines with the Decatur Teacher Assistants union, IFT Local 4325.

CTU has organized a “Solidarity Road Trip’ via shuttle bus for about 50 teachers. “The paraprofessionals of this union are in a tough spot,” the union wrote in an email to members. “Their school administration refuses to budge on health insurance and other issues. CTU, with IFT support is organizing to send a coach bus full of CTU members, to support these union members who are fighting for fair wages & health insurance benefits.”

According to the Decatur Herald & Review, the Decatur Teacher Assistants union represents about 276 hearing interpreters, licensed practical nurses, hearing-vision technicians and teaching assistants who have been working under a contract extension since the academic year started in August.

7:21 a.m. Lightfoot cancels visit to CPS contingency site

The mayor’s office has canceled a scheduled 8:15 a.m. appearance and media availability at South Side YMCA, 6330 S. Stony Island Ave., one of nearly 700 sites across Chicago accepting CPS kids whose schools are closed due to the teachers strike.

The email cites a “change of schedule” as the reason for the cancellation.

6:55 a.m. Teachers move protests to Lincoln Yards

According to materials distributed by the teachers union obtained by the Sun-Times, striking teachers are moving their demonstrations from the picket lines at their respective schools to the Lincoln Yards development site.

“We are targeting Lincoln Yards because it’s being funded in part by TIF money that should be going to our schools,” the CTU memo to union members read. “If [Mayor Lori] Lightfoot wanted to settle the contract TODAY, she would only need to declare an additional TIF surplus to do so.”

Lightfoot previously addressed the question of whether Lincoln Yards was receiving money that should be available for school funding.

“We cannot strike a deal based on the illusion that there is Lincoln Yards money available that we can just shift somewhere else,” she said Monday, Oct. 21, referring to more than $1 billion in subsidies that were committed to a massive new development on the North Side — a process which started under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “That’s not realistic and it just doesn’t work like that.”

Later in Monday night’s memo, the union made another comparison between the Lincoln Yards deal and teacher contract negotiations.

“Lincoln Yards got everything it wanted in writing. Why can’t we get everything our students deserve?”

6:14 a.m. Negotiations fall apart Monday

A marathon bargaining session that lasted 16 hours and kept city and union officials at the table until 2 a.m. was not enough to end Chicago’s teachers strike and put the city’s 300,000 students back in school.

Frustrated and exasperated negotiators from the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union emerged from behind closed doors early Tuesday without an agreement — despite saying they would stay at the table until they struck a deal.

LaTanya McDade, the district’s chief education officer and second in command to schools chief Janice Jackson, said the two sides “have gotten the closest that we’ve ever been” on the two key issues of class size and staffing, and that “those issues are within reach.”

But the union and school district remain “fundamentally far apart” on the issue of teacher preparation time, she said.

The union issued a press release shortly after 11 p.m. saying “the CTU bargaining team remains at the table and does not plan on leaving until they’ve managed to get a tentative agreement with CPS.”

— Nader Issa and Mitch Dudek

Our goal at the Sun-Times is to empower you during big news events like the teachers strike. Support our coverage further by signing up for a digital subscription here.