AFSCME stands in solidarity with Chicago public school teachers, member of Chicago Teachers Union Local 1, who went on strike at more than 500 locations Thursday for fairer wages, more resources in schools to better serve children, smaller class sizes, as well as affordable housing for both educators and students’ families. CTU members are also calling for more front line personnel, including social workers, nurses, counselors, librarians and other critical school staff.
CTU represents 25,000 teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians. They are demanding that newly elected Mayor Lori Lightfoot deliver on her campaign promises.
Chicago is the third largest school district in the country; more than 16,000 students who attend CPS are homeless. Class sizes can run upwards of over 40 kids; some schools have a nurse and a counselor one day a week, making for unsafe conditions and taxing teachers to the limit.
Thursday’s strike echoes the wave of teachers strikes in 2018, when educators across the country struck or walked out to protest long-running underfunding of schools, poor pay for educators, a severe lack of school resources, and more.
With union approval at a near 50-year high, workers across a range of professions – from journalists to grocery store workers, from nurses to behavioral health workers – are uniting for a seat at the table to level the playing field in an economy rigged to favor the wealthy and the well-connected.
AFSCME has led this new wave of worker activism, resulting in collective bargaining victories for 20,000 Nevada state employees, 40,000 California child care providers; strong contract victories for state employees in Illinois and Pennsylvania, and nearly the entire presidential field pledging to support federal legislation expanding collective bargaining for public service workers.