Chicago Teacher Union Officials Want Schools Shuttered

In a protest over contract talks Chicago Teacher Union officials are expecting to shut down schools on April 1.  Juan Perez Jr. has the story in the Chicago Tribune Online.

“We will not go to work on April 1. We will close the schools on April 1,” Sharkey said. “What we would hope is that the public joins us and that we see this as a one-day action to fight for school funding.”

On Saturday, CTU leaders met with a group of members to discuss a promised “Day of Action” amid halting contract talks with Chicago Public Schools. Sharkey called the one-day walkout an act of civil disobedience designed to marshal support for new taxes and revenue for public education.

“We’re saying that we’re arguing for picket lines going up at schools on April 1, and that school would not be in session that day,” Sharkey said.

Under state law, CTU cannot strike until the completion of a final phase of contract negotiations known as “fact-finding,” which won’t be completed until May. School district attorneys say the union has no legal justification to strike outside the authority of state law; the union disagrees.

“It’s not a question of legality, it’s a question of the moral necessity to do something about a very acute crisis in the city,” Sharkey said. “And it’s for one day, so if the powers that be are so threatened by tens of thousands of people in the public demonstrating for funding for crucial institutions, then they should be the ones who are ashamed of themselves.”

CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner said school officials “expect teachers to be in classrooms teaching and students to be in classrooms learning” on the regularly scheduled school day.

“When we make a threat, and back it up, the powers that be take us seriously — and Rahm is already on the ropes,” CTU’s March 12 bulletin said. “Now is the time to add Gov. Bruce Rauner and his millionaire patrons to our primary target list.”