Teachers “overwhelmingly” authorize strike, media report

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Going into the strike vote last Wednesday, CTU president Karen Lewis said she was confident that more than enough of her members would vote to authorize. Such a move would not only logistically give union delegates the right to set the time and place of a strike, should they decide to, but it also would show the mayor and the CPS administration that the teachers still have some power.

It looks like Lewis was right. Though union officials would not confirm, media sources, including the Chicago Sun Times, reported Sunday night that the union handily garnered enough votes. Union officials have said that they will announce the results of the vote early this week, perhaps Monday, and that they were feeling good.

The win is not a huge surprise. Last year, a new law laid out a process for the CTU to call a strike and put in place the requirement that 75 percent of all members vote to authorize. Initially, advocates of the law, called Senate Bill 7, said they thought the provision effectively eliminated the possibility that the CTU could ever strike. 

But in recent months, it became increasingly clear that teachers and other school staff were unhappy to the point that they could strike. The union and the district appeared far away from each other in contract negotiations. One main sticking point is whether or how much teachers should be compensated for the longer day that district officials are imposing next year. 

CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard plead wotj teachers in the last few weeks, asking them to delay voting. Currently, an independent fact finder is working on report to be released on July 16. He said teachers should wait for the results of that report before authorizing a strike.