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Chicago teachers continue strike as sides remain far apart on contract

Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- Mutual frustration was on display between the Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot's camp late Thursday as the sides remain far apart on a contract deal on the first day of a teachers strike.

While the union said progress was made, it wasn't enough to keep classes from being canceled for a second day Friday.

"We hope that we can get a settlement. That's what we all want," CTU Chief of Staff Jennifer Johnson said late Thursday. "But we're going to do what it takes to get what we need."

The union, which has been fighting to gain more influence over the direction of the school system, has rejected the city's offer of 16% base-pay raises over five years, asking instead for 15% over three years. But while state law mostly restricts teachers to striking over pay and compensation issues, union leaders have highlighted demands related to staffing, class sizes and prep time. They want nurses, social workers and librarians in every school, and more special education classroom assistants and case managers -- and they want all those items in their contract.

The Board of Education has set up contingency plans for parents, including keeping school buildings open with principals and other non-union staff. Parents said they have a variety of plans, from staying home with their children to bringing them to their local YMCAs to sending them to camps being offered by local groups.


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