SEIU Local 73/Twitter
SEIU Local 73, which represents support staff in Chicago Public Schools, has a tentative contract agreement to end its strike.

Support staff reach contract agreement, but teachers remain on strike in Chicago

Oct. 29, 2019
The district has reached a tentative deal with Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents 7,500 school employees, but classes have been cancelled for the ninth day.

Striking support staff in Chicago Public Schools have reached a tentative contract agreement with the district, but the system's 25,000 teachers remained on on the picket line Monday as classes were cancelled for an eighth day.

WGN-TV reports that Chicago Teachers Union and district negotiators spent more than 16 hours at the bargaining table, starting Monday and stretching until 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Initially, union officials said they would not leave until there was a deal, but in the end, both sides remain far apart on key issues.

The district has reached a tentative deal with Service Employees International Union Local 73 that includes a raise for special education assistants, security guards, bus drivers and custodians. 

"I'm pleased to announce that the bargaining committee of SEIU Local 73 is reviewing the final terms of a deal that, if approved, would be submitted to members for ratification within the next couple of days," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says.

The 7,500 members of SEIU Local 73 had walked off the job on Oct. 17, the same day that the Chicago Teachers Union began its strike. Despite the agreement, the SEIU says its members will not cross the picket line until teachers reach a deal with the district.

The teachers union and city officials are still millions of dollars apart as they seek to reach a deal to end what is now longest strike in more than 30 years.

The major sticking points are staffing and class size.

The teachers union wants counselors, nurses and librarians in every school. They are also calling for a reduction in class size.

The city says it's already proposed adding nearly half a billion dollars in the contract, including $70 million to put a nurse and social worker in every school.

It also added $25 million to reduce class sizes.

Union President Jesse Sharkey asserts that $38 million is what separates the parties at the bargaining table.

“Thirty eight million dollars—one half of one percent of CPS’ annual budget—is what is preventing the CTU and CPS from landing a tentative agreement. $38 million.”

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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