CHICAGO, IL (WGN) — Teachers in Chicago have gone on strike for the first time since 2012.
About 25,000 Chicago Public School teachers hit the picket line at 6:30 a.m. Thursday after rejecting the district’s contract proposal Wednesday evening.
The Chicago Teachers Union rallied after formally announcing the strike and accusing Mayor Lori Lightfoot of reneging on her campaign promises.
Contract negotiations between CPS and CTU resumed Thursday at Malcolm X College.
Classes and activities were preemptively canceled ahead of the anticipated strike to give families more time to figure out their childcare options.
Chicago teachers are asking for more pay, smaller class sizes and more staffing. Another sticking point of the teachers union is affordable housing. The CTU wants access to low income housing for new teachers and its estimated 16,450 homeless students.
Lightfoot said a teacher strike could be settled “today” if the Chicago Teachers Union would negotiate with a seriousness and “sense of urgency.”
Striking union teachers will be joined at the picket line by SEIU members. That union represents 7,000 support staffers, such as bus aides and security guards, who are also negotiating a new contract.
A massive rally is planned outside CPS Headquarters at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
The strike is Chicago’s first major walkout by teachers since 2012. The strike will impact over 300,000 students.
During the 2012 strike, the district kept some schools open for half days during a seven-day walkout. This time, all CPS school buildings will be open during the normal school day. Students who need a safe place to go are encouraged to attend their regular school, but will be welcomed at any CPS school that is age appropriate. More on CPS’s contingency plan can be found here.
Parents are encouraged to register their child online for the duration of the potential strike. While not mandatory, it helps ensure the district has enough staff and meals to serve each child. All CPS schools will serve breakfast and lunch to students.
The CTA is offering free rides for students until school reopens.
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