CHICAGO — The Chicago Teachers Union will hold a strike vote and is encouraging its members to vote "yes" next week.
The vote will be held during school hours Wednesday to Friday. The CTU will need at least 75 percent of its membership to vote "yes" to authorize a strike. Those who are not able to vote due to illness, maternity leave or other reasons will be identified and given a chance to cast a ballot, according to the CTU.
The union and its members have said they want a fair contract without pay cuts for teachers and better funding for neighborhood schools. It has also shown support for an elected school board, expressing dissatisfaction in the current mayoral-appointed board and the budget cuts schools faced this year.
The union has been warning of a coming strike: In early November, teachers were told to start saving money for a potentially lengthy strike. On Nov. 9, the CTU said 97 percent of members were ready to strike, according to the results of a mock vote. And just a week and a half ago, the CTU hosted a Downtown rally that attracted thousands.
On Thursday, the CTU also threw its support behind calls for a board made up of civilians to oversee the police department. CTU members joined a Black Friday march Downtown in honor of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old who was shot 16 times and killed by a police officer.
“We were against what happened to Laquan McDonald and what has happened in the wake of the release of that horrific video," said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey, according to a union news release. "There are too many questions, but all of them illustrate why the CTU supports a democratically elected civilian police accountability council. We have no confidence in the mayor’s hand-picked blue ribbon commission.”
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