CHICAGO (TNS) — With eight days to go before students return to school, the Chicago Teachers Union rejected an independent factfinder’s recommendations for a new contract — placing the labor group one step closer to a possible strike.
Also on Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools officials unveiled their latest offer, which would raise teacher pay by 16% over five years, as recommended by the factfinder.
The mayor said the proposal — an increase from the 14% raises she offered earlier — puts “real money on the table” for teachers. “As I have said many times during this process, there’s no reason a deal can’t be reached by the start of the school year,” Lightfoot said at a news conference with CPS CEO Janice Jackson at Webster Elementary School on the West Side.
The union has proposed a total 15% increase over a shorter contract term of three years. “Though the wage and benefit proposals (are) said to be generous by the mayor and CPS’ team, they come in the context of nearly a decade of austerity and cuts,” union President Jesse Sharkey said at the CTU’s own news conference earlier Monday.
The union’s rejection of the fact-finder report means the district could legally strike on or after Sept. 25.