A show of force from CTU, parents in Chicago teachers’ strike

By Kevin Beese Staff Reporter

Lucinda Harrell and her girls battled an hour of traffic to get from their home in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood to show their support for Chicago Public School teachers who continued their strike Wednesday with a mass picket Downtown.

Harrell has a preschooler and sixth-grader at Ryder Math & Science Specialty Elementary School at 87th and Wallace streets.

“My daughter’s sixth-grade class has 40 students in it,” Harrell said. “It is time we brought schools the money.”

A group of CPS students stood at Randolph and Clark streets and chanted “We love you” as teachers holding picket signs circled City Hall during a march. The march and rally snarled traffic in the Downtown area as tens of thousands filled the area near City Hall and the state of Illinois’ Thompson Center.

There was no official crowd estimate from the Chicago Police Department, but a Chicago Teachers Union spokesperson estimated the crowd at more than 20,000.

Wednesday marked a full week of classes missed as the Chicago Teachers Union continued its strike.

Among the contract issues that have the Teachers Union at odds with CPS leaders and Mayor Lori Lightfoot are class sizes, writing additional support staff into the teachers’ contract, and pay raises for teachers.

The city is offering 16 percent raises over five years; CTU wants 15 percent over three years.

Christel Williams-Hayes, CTU recording secretary, has been at the bargaining table and said that Lightfoot and CPS leaders think that the union will cave on its demands.

“I don’t know what it is going to take for Lori to understand that we are not going to do a disappearing act,” Williams-Hayes said.