clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Lightfoot offers to sit in on CTU negotiations; union president says ‘what’s the point’

The mayor personally sitting in on negotiations would be an unusual and maybe unlikely step; CTU President Jesse Sharkey said there are too many unresolved issues for it to be productive.

Chicago Public Schools Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade (left) and CEO Janice Jackson (right) join Mayor Lori Lightfoot as she speaks about the Chicago Teachers Union contract in August.
Chicago Public Schools Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade (left) and CEO Janice Jackson (right) join Mayor Lori Lightfoot as she speaks about the Chicago Teachers Union contract in August.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

As the clock ticks on negotiations for a new teachers contract, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday that she’s willing to go to the bargaining table herself to hammer out a deal and avoid a looming strike.

“If my presence at the bargaining table to push forward and forge a deal is productive, I’m ready to do it,” Lightfoot said. “I will clear the decks in my schedule and make it happen.”

The mayor personally sitting in on negotiations would be an unusual and maybe unlikely step. Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson still has not joined negotiations, though she told the Sun-Times last week that she would when “appropriate.”

Lightfoot said there “remain a number of open issues which we’ve put forward specific proposals on.”

The two sides have ramped up the bargaining schedule the past couple weeks, now meeting at least three times per week. Both the city and union have said they’re willing to meet more often.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey, though, said no thanks to the mayor’s offer to sit in on negotiations.

“What’s the point in the mayor coming in when there’s 200 proposals being exchanged back and forth,” Sharkey said. “The mayor needs to come in when there’s some clarity. That’s why she’s got a bargaining team, I assume. Instruct your bargaining team to make progress on key issues.”

Several issues remain on the table, including teacher preparation time, class sizes, staffing shortages and pay and benefits.

Teachers are set to vote from Tuesday to Thursday over whether to authorize a strike. If the vote passes, the earliest teachers could walk out would be Oct. 7.