CTU strike could happen as early as October
ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
Four years ago this Saturday, the Chicago Teachers Union advised their teachers to walk out of the Chicago Public Schools. One labor expert thinks it will happen again this October.
CPS and the teachers union have been at odds over pay and other benefits since their contract expired in June of 2015. Teachers are scheduled to take a vote authorizing a strike in two weeks. City College of New York political science professor and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Dan DiSalvo expects to see nearly 400,000 students without teachers next month.
“If I had to make a prediction, I’d say look for a strike sometime in October,” DiSalvo said. “It doesn’t seem that there’s anything that Chicago Public Schools could really offer at this point that would be large enough to bridge what seems to be an insurmountable gap.”
DiSalvo said that CPS will likely need to be bailed out by the rest of Illinois’ taxpayers since the city currently needs more than $1 billion annually to slow the growth of its own pension debt.
“Ultimately, this is probably going to get kicked back to the state,” DiSalvo said. “The sums of money are too large for the city to pay. They’re too strapped.”
CPS announced a budget earlier this month that relies heavily on uncommitted state aid and borrowed money. The cash-strapped school district closed 54 schools in 2013, less than a year after a teachers strike.
Chicago teachers are the highest paid of the nation’s ten largest school districts when accounting for cost-of-living. Despite this, union leaders say that the district is purposely broke and want the city to drain its tax-increment financing (TIF) funds to meet the union’s demands for higher wages and the hiring of other ancillary teaching staff.