The teachers of Chicago have voted to authorize a strike, at least the ones in the union did.
The Chicago Teachers Union took a vote on Thursday to decide whether or not to move towards a possible strike. The answer was a resounding yes. Around 94% of ballots counted by 10 p.m. Thursday night were in favor of the move, well over the minimum 75% needed to authorize such an action.
What has this teachers union mad enough to authorize a strike? Pay and benefits are two of the biggest topics, mirroring the teacher walkout movement around the country. However, in this case, there are other issues on the table as well such as class size, prep time, and support staff like nurses and social workers.
The vote does not guarantee that a strike will occur. Impending strikes have been averted before and the city will have 10 days notice from the union before any strike occurs giving both sides a de-facto countdown or last chance period to come to an agreement.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that a walkout would be “catastrophic” for students and families. Other critics of the strike point out that the plan that is already on the table would make Chicago teachers among the highest paid in the country.
Negotiations between the city and the union resumed on Friday, but the union can vote on a strike date at its next meeting on October. 2.
A strike could potentially affect around 360,000 students. Though, in the past, the schools, parks, and YMCA have pulled resources to provide childcare and free lunch for students in need due to the strike.