CHICAGO — The Latest on (all times local):
Chicago teachers are set to go on strike after failing to reach a contract deal with the nation’s third-largest school district.
Both sides have been negotiating for months over issues including pay and benefits, class size and teacher preparation time.
The Chicago Teachers Union said Wednesday night that teachers will strike Thursday. Union members held a banner that read, “On Strike,” as they announced it at a news conference that was streamed on the union’s Facebook page.
Roughly 25,000 teachers are expected to participate in the work stoppage. The district preemptively cancelled Thursday’s classes earlier Wednesday but plans to keep schools open and staffed with non-union employees.
The last major teachers strike in Chicago was in 2012.
Chicago educators say the district has shortchanged schools after years of budget cuts and they want all the promises in writing. The district says its offer of a 16% raise over five years is comprehensive and “historic.”
Chicago’s public schools have cancelled classes after the teachers’ union president announced that his bargaining team will recommend teachers vote to go on strike.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday that classes would be cancelled Thursday after determining that she can’t accept the Chicago Teachers Union’s demands, which she says would cost the city $2.5 billion it can’t afford.
Talks are expected to continue Wednesday.
The union issued a press release Tuesday night saying the bargaining team will recommend that the union’s House of Delegates “vote Wednesday to go forward with a strike.”
The union and the city have been haggling over several issues, including salary, class size and the number of support staff such as librarians at nurses at schools.
Some 25,000 teachers are poised to go on strike and closing the schools affects nearly 400,000 students. Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson says sports teams’ practices, field trips, tutoring and other activities also will be cancelled.
The Associated Press