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Chicago teachers strike continues

By staff |
October 21, 2019
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Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73 strikers march
Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73 strikers march (Fight Back! News/staff)

Chicago, IL - The joint strike by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73 continued October 18 and through the weekend as the office of Mayor Lori Lightfoot continued to refuse to meet the strikers' demands.

The teachers and school workers are on strike for "the schools our students deserve": smaller class sizes, genuine sanctuary schools, and a nurse and librarian in every school. Among their demands are political demands, or what the CTU calls "bargaining for the common good." These include the demand for affordable housing for working-class Chicagoans, something that the mayor refuses to put into the language of the contract but which the teachers say is a key issue to resolve before they can return to work.

On October 18, the second day of the strike, tens of thousands of teachers, school workers and supporters marched through downtown Chicago once again. Before that, the strikers had been picketing at every public school in the city. It was on these picket lines that anyone could see the broad support the strike has among the public.

Sean Orr, a UPS driver in the city, said that the support was unprecedented. "This entire week, there has not been a single block I have delivered on where at least one house didn't have a ‘I support Chicago teachers’ sign in the window," Orr said. "Every picket line I've seen is greeted by horn honks and people stopping the picketers to ask for a selfie with them. It's incredible."

Polls consistently show that the striking teachers have a greater share of public support than the mayor in these negotiations. It is time that the mayor's office meets the CTU/SEIU demands and give Chicago the school system that its children deserve.

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