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Union representing CPS support staff overwhelmingly approves strike authorization

Working without a contract for a year, 97% of CPS’ custodians, bus aides, security officers and special education classroom assistants voted to authorize a strike.

SEIU Local 73 represents more than 7,000 support staff employees within CPS.
Sun-Times file photo

More than 7,000 support staff employees of Chicago Public Schools could be walking the picket line come October after a strike authorization vote passed with flying colors over the weekend.

Ninety-seven percent of CPS’ custodians, bus aides, security officers and special education classroom assistants voted to authorize a strike on Saturday, according to SEIU Local 73, the union that represents them.

The union says the employees have been working without a contract for more than a year. The earliest that a potential strike would take place would be in October.

“These workers provide important educational, health, and safety services to students everyday but have been largely ignored by CPS administration,” the union said in a statement.

Michael Passman, a spokesman for CPS, said school district is committed to striking a fair deal with the union.

”SEIU Local 73 members play an integral role in the success of our schools, and CPS is committed to reaching an agreement that fairly compensates Local 73 members for their service and allows schools in every neighborhood to continue their record-setting progress,” Passman said in a statement.

The potential work stoppage comes on the heels of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new contract offer to the Chicago Teachers Union.

Earlier this month, Lightfoot said she made a $300 million offer to the CTU that would include a 14% pay raise over five years. CTU leadership said the offer was “not good enough” to avert the second teachers strike within seven years.