ANDERSONVILLE — Teachers at Passages Charter School voted unanimously to authorize a strike Thursday.
The 43-0 vote gives the bargaining committee the power to set a strike date as contract negotiations continue with Asian Human Services, which runs the charter school at 1643 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., according to a press release.
“No teacher wants to strike — we want to be in class, with our students, where we belong. But if it takes a strike to force change that improves the education of Passages’ students, then our members will be on the picket line until we achieve those improvements," said Chris Baehrend, president of ChiACTS Local 4343, which represents the teachers.
This is the third time this year a charter school in Chicago has threatened to strike. Unionized charter school teachers negotiate with the operator of their school, not with CPS, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Passages serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade with a mission "to serve immigrant and refugee students as well as students throughout the city," according to the CPS website.
It has 468 students and 41 percent are "limited English learners," according to the CPS website.
In April 2016, 46 teachers, teacher assistants and paraprofessionals at the school joined ChiACTS Local 4343, which represents teachers at 32 schools in the city. Teachers have been negotiating a new contract since May 2016, according to the release.
The main reason for joining the union was to have more of a "voice in decisions that affect our students," third grade teacher Gina Mengarelli said.
“Many of our kids, as refugees and immigrants, look to the school as an environment to support the hopes and dreams they bring to their new country," she said. "It is simply wrong for management to invest so little in these children and the frontline workers who are responsible for their education."