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Chicago teachers vote unanimously to strike at 3 charter schools

By staff |
June 4, 2021
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Chicago, IL - On May 27, rank-and-file teachers represented by Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted by a unanimous vote to strike at three Urban Prep charter schools. They plan to set a strike date soon. Additionally, they filed an unfair labor practice charge against Urban Prep management for multiple unfair labor practices including hiding crucial financial information that would affect bargaining.

The Urban Prep teachers have been in contract negotiations for more than 30 months. They are fighting for more support for special education students and more classroom resources, among other things. The teachers at Urban Prep are some of the lowest-paid teachers int the Chicago charter schools. Yet they pay the highest health care costs in that grouping. In fact, the teachers’ starting pay is more than $11,000 below what public school teachers get in Chicago. This results in very high turnover rates which create dangerous instability for the schools, where the students are overwhelmingly young Black males.

Chris Beahrend is the chair of CTU’s charter division and says, “Urban Prep has the resources to do right by our students and the educators who serve them - and we will strike if we must to move those resources into our schools.” He went on to say, “Urban Prep students deserve the special education services that are mandated by federal law, and our school communities deserve the resources our young people need.”

While a strike date remains to be set, a unanimous strike vote is a rare occurrence and signals that they teachers are ready to strike and will continue to fight for their students and their educators. This is a developing story and Fight Back! will continue to report new developments as they occur.