RIVER NORTH — The Chicago Teachers Union has released the results of a "mock strike vote," and the verdict is overwhelmingly in favor of going out on strike.
According to union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin, a "mock strike vote" conducted Thursday found that 97 percent of teachers would vote to "authorize a strike, if needed." She added that 95 percent of the union's membership took part in what was called a "practice contract poll" that also found "it was nearly unanimous that teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians have little confidence" in new Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool.
State law requires that at least 75 percent of the union's 27,000 members must vote to authorize a strike before teachers can walk out.
Union President Karen Lewis threatened a strike last week in the face of what Claypool has warned would be 5,000 layoffs before the second semester, required if the district has not received an extra $500 million it has budgeted, but has not yet had approved by Springfield. Lewis said the strike could come this winter, most likely after the new year.
In response, CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner pointed to a Substance News report from last week that found some teachers "annoyed" by a "confusing" process that was not a real strike vote.
"Only the CTU’s rank and file (via its House of Delegates) can call for a strike vote," Gadlin said. "No decision has been made as to when or if that vote will occur."
"For the sake of our children's education and our teachers' jobs, we are committed to working toward a solution to the budget crisis facing CPS," Bittner said. "We hope that the CTU will join us in Springfield to push for fair treatment for Chicago’s children, instead of threatening a strike."
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