Chicago schools to close Thursday as strike looms

  • Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 and their supporters march through the Loop after a rally Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

    Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 and their supporters march through the Loop after a rally Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

 
 
Updated 10/17/2019 10:12 AM

All Chicago Public Schools classes are canceled Thursday ahead of an increasingly certain teachers strike that city officials say should have been avoided.

The announcement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and schools chief Janice Jackson came Wednesday morning on the heels of the union president telling the city and the public that he's "overwhelmingly certain" teachers would walk out."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lightfoot told reporters at City Hall that she believes concessions she's made in bargaining should have been enough to reach a deal with the Chicago Teachers Union and avert a strike.

The mayor said she's offered a 16% pay raise and bent over backward to meet the union's key concerns -- even agreeing, after months of holding out, to put in writing the CTU's demands over class size and staffing of nurses, librarians and social workers.

Yet she now finds herself facing a work stoppage just months into her term.

"Despite all this, the Chicago Teachers Union plans to forge ahead with a strike," the mayor said. "Why don't we have a deal?"

Union President Jesse Sharkey said Tuesday night that the CTU's bargaining team would recommend to its governing body that it votes to turn down the current offer that's on the table and carry on with the strike. The House of Delegates is set to meet after school gets out Wednesday afternoon, and the results of the vote are expected in the early evening.

For more, check chicago.suntimes.com.

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