CHICAGO —Monday dawned with no deal, no school, and rain in the forecast. Striking Chicago teachers planned picket lines at schools in the morning — including a South Side picket line they said would stretch seven miles along Pulaski Avenue from Archer Avenue to 111th from 8 to 9 a.m. An afternoon rally was set to start at 2 p.m. at Union Park and include support staff from Service Employees International Union 73.
Chalkbeat Chicago will be providing updates throughout the day on this live blog from picket lines, negotiations, and public appearances by the mayor and union officials.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s schedule for Monday put her on the West Side announcing a “groundbreaking initiative” with the CEO of a bank. Over the weekend, Lightfoot and schools chief Janice Jackson lamented the pace of negotiations and said the union had not responded quickly enough to counterproposals on two key issues: class size caps and support staffing.
The union said one holdup was enforcement mechanisms and how to put more tooth in the contract around those issues. The previous contract contained class size guidelines, for example, but a committee established to oversee the issue had little authority.
As of Sunday night, there was no final consensus yet on three other central points: pay and benefits for veteran teachers, the length of the contract, and teacher prep time.
Tentative agreements had been reached, union leaders said, on funding for dedicated staff who would support homeless students and protections to keep counselors from being pulled away for non-counseling duties. They also agreed on 10:1 student-to-staff ratios in early childhood classrooms and language that could make it easier for teachers there to set nap times, the union said.
Meanwhile, talks appear to have stalled between the city and SEIU73, which represents bus aides and special education classroom assistants who have also gone on strike. A spokesman for the union said Sunday that the two sides had last bargained on Wednesday and did not have a next session set.
7 a.m. Always be prepared
Teachers arrive at schools early to start 6:30 a.m. picket lines report an eye-popping pink sunrise. They start putting up tarps at some campuses anyway: There’s rain in the forecast set to start at 9 a.m.
— Gregory Michie (@GregoryMichie) October 21, 2019