WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten in support of the Chicago Teachers Union.
"Yesterday, on a call with her fellow AFT executive council members, including the union's three national officers, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis reported on the status of the CTU's ongoing negotiations with Chicago Public Schools, the CTU's hope for a settlement, and its preparations for a strike if a settlement is not reached.
"Chicago's teachers want what is best for their students and for Chicago's public schools. And they want to work in an environment that respects their work and their role as partners with administrators in ensuring that every Chicago child has a chance to succeed. The AFT and its members stand with the CTU.
"Chicago teachers have already agreed to a longer school day—and offered ideas to make it not just a longer day but a better day by investing in art, music and other subjects that expand and enrich our children's minds. And they've galvanized parents and community to support these ideas.
"No one takes a strike lightly. CTU members feel that a clear message has been sent by the school district that they and their work are not valued. This message is demonstrated not simply by the school board's denial of agreed-upon pay raises, but also by Chicago Public Schools' exclusion of the CTU from conversations it had with outside groups about potential school closings.
"CTU President Lewis and CTU members are committed to working around the clock to reach a fair, substantive agreement that keeps them where they want to be: on the job, in the classrooms, educating Chicago's students. That will remain their goal if a strike is not averted."