CHICAGO — “Would you support a strike?” That’s what Chicago Teachers Union leadership is asking rank-and-file members as part of its fight to end the return of in-person learning at public schools.
A source sent Patch screenshots of the CTU poll Monday just hours before the union’s bargaining power got boosted by a change to state law in Springfield.
The state Senate approved House Bill 2275. Now, all it takes is Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature to eliminate a provision in state law that currently stands in the way of requiring Chicago Public School officials to negotiate — and ultimately call a strike — over issues such as shorter school days, staffing and class-size requirements and reopening schools during the coronavirus crisis.
Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote to state senators urging them to balk at passing the measure “at this critical time” as her administration forges ahead with school reopening plans despite objections from CTU and dozens of aldermen. In the letter, Lightfoot said if the bill became law it “would impair our efforts to reopen Chicago Public Schools and jeopardize our fiscal and educational gains.”
CTU leaders had already planned to turn up the heat on its objection to reviving in-person learning. On Tuesday, union members are scheduled to participate in a national day of action. A special meeting of the union’s house of delegates — where a strike authorization vote could take place — is slated for sometime before January 25, when the union plans “escalated workplace actions.”
In addition to asking if members would support a strike if “remote teaching became impossible,” the CTU survey aimed to gauge whether members would back a “collective action” or a “signing a collective letter of refusal to return.”