In what could be a first in the country, teachers at fifteen of Chicago’s public charter schools could be going on strike one week after the Chicago Teachers Union.
Nearly all teachers and support staff members of the United Educators of UNO voted this week in favor of a walkout. The union said 531 of its 532 members voted, and 508 said they support a strike if no agreement is reached.
At a rally outside UNO’s Veteran’s Memorial Campus in Archer Heights, union representatives announced their plans to walk off the job Oct. 19th if they don’t have a new contract.
The charter union members have been negotiating with their bosses for more than seven months and the two sides can’t agree on salaries for support staff or class sizes.
Eighth grader Adrian Bustamante said he thinks his teachers have good reason to strike.
“They get in here by like five o’clock and leave at seven,” he said. “And now that they have to worry about our graduate support, they have to stay even later.”
Graduate support positions were among several cut over the summer. Bustamante said those people help eighth graders apply to high school.
A spokesman for the UNO Charter School Network said officials hope to reach an agreement to avoid a strike, but will plan for a walk out.
Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. Follow her at @wbezeducation.