By ABC7 Eyewitness News Team Coverage
CHICAGO (WLS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Sunday night that a tentative deal has been reached with members of SEIU Local 73, however talks continue to stall with the Chicago Teachers Union as the end of the two weekslong strike remains out of sight.
SEIU Local 73 represents CPS support staff, serving in roles such as special education classroom assistants, bus aides, custodians as well as school security officers.
Even though SEIU has reached a tentative deal, members said they’ll be joining the picket lines Monday in support of CTU.
There will be a march/rally led by young people moving from the Chicago Freedom School to City Hall starting at 9:30 a.m.
There is another gathering scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Chicago Art Institute in the Loop.
Lightfoot joined CPS leaders at City Hall to give an update on bargaining talks Sunday night. She said the city and CTU weren’t able to reach an agreement over the weekend despite the district offering what they called a “historic deal” for the union, including a 16% raise.
“CTU told us, told their membership and told the entire public that they wanted to get this contract to transform public education in Chicago and this is exactly what our offer does,” Lightfoot said.
The union said they’re only $38 million away from reaching a deal.
“It’s one half of one percent of CPS’ annual operating budget,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said. “We feel like we need to be able to get there. We feel like this is an amount of money that CPS needs to be able to make as an investment into our students and our classrooms.”
But Chicago Public Schools put that number much higher at $100 million.
CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson expressed disappointment Sunday over yet another day without a deal.
“We’ve given them a deal that guarantees social workers and nurses in every school everyday and pays the average teacher nearly $100,000 and reduces class sizes because we want to sign that deal right now and that is the deal that is on the table for CTU,” Jackson said.
“They forget that 9 out of 10 schools that have black students, majority black students do not have a school librarian,” Stacey Davis Gates, CTU Vice President said.
Teachers said they are also negotiating for a half hour of teacher prep time, something that was cancelled by the Rahm Emmanuel administration.
If the standoff continues past Tuesday, it’ll mark the longest Chicago Teachers Union strike in over three decades.
Though it’s not something either side said they want, University of Illinois Professor Robert Bruno said the union is intent on making a point.
“They made a statement in 2012. But in 2019, they’re looking to achieve real gains embedded in the contract around staffing and class size, along with doing better financially,” said Bruno, who co-authored a book on the 2012 strike. “They’re really continuing that strike form 2012. I think they see it now as core, as central, that they need to get that out of the bargaining agreement.”
Any agreement reached must first be voted on and approved by CTU members before classes can resume.
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