Chicago Teachers Union Hit the Picket Lines to Fight for a Fair Contract

By: Carmen Lopez

 Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationThe Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools officials did not reach an agreement on their recent contract negotiations. This forced teachers around the city report to the picket line at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 10.

Beaubien Elementary School teachers began their day with a goal and a strong message to Chicago Public Schools officials. “We are doing what we think is right for our students, to support public education, to get equitable funding, and also for our members,” said Sue Sebesta. Sebesta is a teacher at Beaubien Elementary School and a union delegate. Sebesta also serves as the Chicago Teachers Union district supervisor for the O’Hare network.

“The union has been at the bargaining table for nine months. The Board of Education only got serious two weeks ago,” said Sebesta about the lack of action from the Board of Education to avoid a strike. One of the issues that are being discussed by the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools officials is a pay raise due to a longer school day and year.

“I can’t imagine anyone in any job who would work ten days more or work a longer day without getting paid,” said Sebesta about teachers asking for a pay raise.

Chicago Teachers Union members are also concerned with the growing classroom sizes. “If you were in our school last Tuesday, the hallway was like a sauna, and little children do not understand conditions like that,” she said.

Sebesta shared that at Beaubien Elementary School there are classrooms with more than 35 children. This ignites concerns over a teacher’s ability to give children enough one-on-one attention.

“CTU members are parents, tax payers, voters. We are in the same boat as everybody else.”


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