The Chicago Teachers Union will hold a one-day strike Friday after 80 percent of its delegates voted to approve the move. Union president Karen Lewis says the strike is a message to Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“For us to continue to be submissive to somebody who has an agenda that has always been about getting rid of us is ridiculous,” Lewis said.
Lewis said Rauner needs to abandon what she calls his anti-union agenda and get a state budget passed. The vote came down with 486 delegates in support of the single-day strike and 124 against. Teachers at some schools said they were confused by the action.
Ray Salazar, a writing teacher at Hancock College Prep on the Southwest Side wrote a blog post, saying the single-day strike doesn’t make sense and could backfire in the broader political battle.
“As teachers, we’ve learned sometimes it’s better to not engage with the student agitating us,” Salazar wrote. “But too many of us are wondering if CTU did exactly what Governor Rauner and Mayor Emanuel were agitating us on to do—for their benefit.”
In an e-mailed statement, Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool also said the union is giving Rauner more ammunition in his attempt to take over the school district.
A spokesperson for Rauner has not yet responded to a request for comment.
CPS officials have called the strike illegal, arguing state law sets a clear process for calling a strike. In a letter to schools, Claypool said Friday, April 1st, will no longer be considered a regular school day. However, the district is planning to keep at least 250 schools open as safe places for students to go.
A list will be released Tuesday, the letter said.
Becky Vevea and Sarah Karp are education reporters for WBEZ. You can follow them @WBEZeducation.