Fri | Dec 6, 2019

Chicago teachers strike ends after 11 days without school

Published:Thursday | October 31, 2019 | 5:33 PM
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union rally in downtown Chicago on Thursday, October 31, 2019. (Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago teachers and the nation’s third-largest school district reached a labour contract deal on Thursday, ending a strike that cancelled 11 days of classes for more than 300,000 students.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the district had reached a deal with the Chicago Teachers Union after months of unsuccessful negotiations led to the city’s first significant walkout by educators since 2012. The union’s 25,000 members went on strike Oct. 17, holding marches and rallies across the city.

Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted late Wednesday to approve a tentative deal that includes pay raises over five years, but they initially refused to end the strike unless the mayor added school days to cover the lost time.

The union said Lightfoot had agreed to make up five days of lost time. The school district said classes will resume Friday.

Throughout the strike, Chicago Public Schools kept schools open, promising parents that their kids would have a safe place to go and receive meals.

City parks, libraries and community groups also opened their doors to kids whose parents didn’t want to leave them home alone but were uncomfortable using schools being picketed by educators.

Families across the city breathed a sigh of relief as they heard the news.

Teachers said the strike was based on a “social justice” agenda and aimed to increase resources, including nurses and social workers for students, and reduce class sizes, which teachers say currently exceed 30 or 40 students in some schools.

Union leaders said the strike forced the city to negotiate on issues they initially deemed out of bounds, including support for homeless students.

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