PORTAGE PARK — A panel discussion designed to help parents prepare for a looming strike by the Chicago Teachers Union is set to take place at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy.
Hosted by the Parent Empowerment Network, the event will give parents an update on the state of negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools officials. There will also be a question-and-answer session, organizers said.
The panel is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Thorp, 6024 W. Warwick Ave.
Union officials announced Wednesday evening they would walk off the job Oct. 11 unless a labor agreement is reached.
The $5.4 billion Chicago Public Schools budget, adopted in August, relies on a contract proposal rejected by the union in February that would raise teachers' pay but require them to contribute more to their pensions.
The four-year CPS contract proposal — based on a report compiled by an independent fact finder — includes an 8.75 percent increase in teachers' wages and a cap on new charter schools. It also offers "steps and lanes," automatic bumps in teacher pay that kick in with seniority and experience.
But the offer also includes the so-called "pension pickup," which would require teachers to contribute 9.4 percent of their salaries into their own pension fund.
Union President Karen Lewis has said any labor agreement that works out to a pay cut for teachers — as union officials contend the CPS contract proposal does — is unacceptable.
"We remain open and willing to listen to any ideas that the [union] leadership presents," CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner wrote in an email.
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