We, the Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition #6546 AFT/IFT/AAUP, stand in solidarity with the 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the 7,000 members of Service Employees International Union Local 73, public-support staff, in their contract negotiations with the new Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago School Board. We stand in solidarity with their just demands for:
● Smaller class sizes
● Sustainable community schools with full wrap around services
● Access to a broad and diverse curriculum including art, music, world languages, computer literacy, and physical education
● Fully-staffed libraries in all schools
● Hiring of hundreds more social workers, school nurses, counselors, therapists, psychologists, special education aides and thousands of teachers in order to fully support students
● Educator-directed, not principal-directed prep time
● Adequate compensation with no increase in benefit costs
In 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) struck for seven days and won a victory against then-Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. Educators went out again for a one-day strike in 2016. These strikes were a precursor to the victorious wave of Red State educator strikes that swept through West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona in 2018.
Since then, educator strikes of various lengths erupted in Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, Washington State and even charter school educators, members of the CTU, in Chicago, UTLA in Los Angeles and OFT in Parma, Ohio. A victory in this current struggle for educators in Chicago could help build towards the next wave of educator and other strikes in the U.S. In fact, there’s little doubt the current strike by almost 50,000 at General Motors were inspired by all the educator strikes. We believe it’s in the interests of not just educators, but all workers around the U.S. to show solidarity with Chicago educators.
During her election campaign, Mayor Lightfoot agreed with many of the educators’ criticisms of what needed to be changed in the Chicago Public Schools. However, once elected, her promises to both the CTU and SEIU Local 73 have yet to result in any meaningful contract language. Mayor Lightfoot says she doesn’t respond to pressure, but the entire history of the labor movement up through the most recent Red State strikes have made similar claims from those in positions of power ring hollow time and time again.
The CTU and SEIU Local 73 are standing up for the children of Chicago, for all unions and working-class people, in this time of budget cutting, union busting and devastating assaults on our living standards. These unions are fighting for the kind of schools our students, parents, educators, and communities deserve. Therefore, we, the Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition #6546 AFT/IFT/AAUP, stand in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union and Service Employees International Union Local 73 in their fight to negotiate a contract that addresses all of their issues with Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Board of Education.
The Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition, Local #6546 AFT/IFT/AAUP