Teachers’ protests break out in Chicago, Oakland and Denver

While the Chicago Teachers Union launched a strike, protesting fund cuts and low wages, the Oakland Educators Association voted in favor of a strike action, demanding a smaller class size, student support and living wages. Teachers in Denver decided to strike after the State refused to intervene

February 07, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
The Chicago teachers said they had been having negotiations for months but to no avail.

On February 5, teachers at four chartered schools in Chicago went on strike after they failed to reach renewed contract agreements with the Chicago International Charter School (CICS) authorities. The call for the strike was given by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which represents teachers from public schools and charter schools in the State. On behalf of the 175 teachers and paraprofessionals in the four schools, the CTU has been bargaining for months with the Civitas Education Partners, which manages those schools.

CTU vice-president Stacy Davis Gates said, “CICS has spent nine months at the bargaining table, stringing our members along. They are pocketing increased taxpayer funding and insulting our teachers and low-wage paraprofessionals with threats to cut counselors, social workers and critical frontline programs for our overwhelmingly low-income students.”

The Chicago Tribune reported that the strike, called by the teachers of Wrightwood Elementary School, Ellison High School, Northtown Academy High School and ChicagoQuest High School, halted regular classes at these schools, where about 2,200 students study.

Last year, teachers at Acero charter schools in Chicago went on a strike, which lasted for four days, demanding pay rises and smaller class rooms.

Meanwhile, on February 4, 95% members of the Oakland Educators Association (OEA)  voted in favor of a strike action, demanding a smaller class size, student support and living wages from the Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) management of Oakland public schools.

The Oakland teachers also took out a march on February 5, urging the Oakland City Council to support the teachers and stop the OUSD from implementing school closures.

OEA president Keith Brown said “This powerful vote is a mandate for smaller class size, more student support and living wage. It is a mandate to keep our neighborhood schools open and not shut down our schools.This is a clear message that our members are ready to fight for the schools our students deserve.”

On Wednesday, the Denver Class Teachers Association also announced strike action, starting February 11, demanding fair wages and changes in the existing compensation system. Their initial plan for a strike was delayed by the anticipated intervention of the Colorado state authorities. But the new announcement was made by the union soon after the state authorities made it clear that they would not interfere in the teachers’ decision to strike.