The Chicago Teachers Union is taking a vote today to authorize a strike as their contract expiration date of June 30 nears. The CTU will need 75 percent of membership to vote in favor of a strike in order to get authorization under the education reform law that passed in Illinois last year. Contract negotiations as still underway, with CTU spokesman Jesse Sharkey stating that the vote will act as "leverage in the negotiation process", according to the Chicago Tribune.
"It's important to take now because we need to make some movement at the table," CTU President Karen Lewis told reporters this morning after voting, as reported by the Tribune. "(CPS) needs to understand that now we have the voice of 30,000 people at the bargaining table with us. It has to be now."
Clergy members of the group Arise Chicago will supervise the ballot counts over the next three nights, according to a press release.
"The union has requested that the
clergy be present to witness the counting of the vote," explains Rev.
John Thomas, a member of Arise Chicago’s Board of Directors and Professor at
Chicago Theological Seminary. "We know that our presence will insure
that no one will question the integrity of the final tally.”
Check back with Progress Illinois for more on this developing story.