CHICAGO – Lawyers for Chicago Public Schools are asking the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to block a proposed teachers strike for May 1.
Delegates for the Chicago Teachers Union agreed to move forward on a possible one-day strike on May 1 earlier this month to protest the district’s proposal to cut as many as 13 school days from the current year to help balance the budget, CBS Chicago.
The CTU agenda “Resolved that the CTU delegates will conduct discussions and hold meetings in their workplaces about a May 1st strike for revenue in solidarity with labor and immigrants, with the aim of taking a vote in the regular April 5th House of Delegates meeting on whether or not to recommend a one-day strike to the CTU membership.”
But CPS attorneys filed a motion with the state board Wednesday that claims the strike – just like a one-day CTU strike in April 2016 – is illegal and they requested an injunction to stop it.
“Because this threatened strike, as was the April 1st strike, is unlawful and is exactly the sort of continued unlawful action contemplated by the IELRB’s prior Order, the CBE respectfully requests that the IELRB immediately reiterate and reauthorize its direction that its General Counsel seek injunctive relief,” CPS lawyers wrote.
CTU attorney Robert Bloch told the Chicago Tribune the union is simply discussing a possible strike right now, and there’s nothing illegal about that.
“Even if the strike itself would be unlawful, consideration of whether to strike is protected,” he said. “There’s nothing unlawful about the union engaging in those activities.”
CTU officials are already calling on members to short change students later this month.
According to DNAinfo:
Chicago Teachers Union said Monday they have urged their members to clock in and clock out precisely on time March 20 through March 24 to protest the financial crisis engulfing the Chicago Public Schools that may force officials to end school 20 days early to avoid running out of money.
“We know this will be difficult for many of you, who put your students first, but please consider the powerful message it will send, highlighting to the world how much we do for our students on a voluntary basis,” union leaders wrote to teachers.
Teachers may walk out of class May 1 as part of a one-day strike to protest the district’s plan to end school 20 days early unless Chicago’s schools get more state money. Any walkout would require a vote of the union’s membership, which could come April 5.
The never-ending fight between CTU and CPS is currently centered on the district’s failed attempt to force state lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner to send the district a massive, $215 million bailout to cover teacher pensions.
Without it, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool contends the district will be forced to lop as many as 13 days off the school year, in addition to four forced unpaid furlough days for all CPS employees. The next furlough day is scheduled for April 7, and CTU President Karen Lewis told DNAinfo she wants it “off the table” if district officials want to avoid the union’s wrath.
“That would show us some seriousness about them really trying to work with us,” she said.