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When education is the family business, striking hurts budgets

For one Pilsen family, the strike can hurt when so many work in education.

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Dinner time is all red t-shirts and strike talk lately for the Guerrero family.

“My mother is a special ed teacher assistant,” Emmanuel Guerrero said. “My father is a hearing and vision technician. My brother is currently doing his student teaching but he was a bilingual special ed teacher assistant at Everett. My cousin Helen is a kindergarten teacher aide at Ruiz. Her mother works at Ruiz as well as an office clerk. My cousin Sara is a teacher at Calmeca. My cousin Angel is a teacher at Calmeca.”

The list goes on - at least a dozen in his close-knit Pilsen family are members of the Chicago Teachers’ Union. If he widens the count to extended family, the number soars to more than 40. They span every level of the education system - from administrators to teachers’ aides.

Guerrero is the only one in his family who isn’t a member of the Chicago Teachers Union. He works for a non-profit doing data entry and administrative work.

Guerrero supports the strike, but he knows a second week without pay will strain teachers’ family budgets.

“They’re worried that it’s going to last long and you know that they might fall back on a mortgage payments, gas, cars everything,” he said. “It all affects you.”

Right now, he’s the only one in his family earning a paycheck.

“I got out of work at 6:30,” Guerrero said. “I worked three hours overtime. And my boss said I could stay the whole week and work overtime. So I’m trying to work as much as possible. In case if it comes down to it and they need some money I could help them out.”

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