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Sat Oct 19, 2019, 02:05 AM

Chicago Teachers and Staff Walk Out for Community Needs

John “JP” Pointer has seen five teachers strikes unfold in his more than four decades working in Chicago’s public schools and parks. But yesterday was the first time he’s ever walked off the job himself.

“I’m just four years away from retirement, but I’m doing this for the people who come after me, and especially for the kids,” he said.

As a security guard at National Teachers Academy, Pointer is one of about 7,500 Chicago Public Schools support staff who are striking, alongside the 25,000-member Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). During the Chicago teachers’ landmark 2012 strike, support staff stayed on the job—they’re represented by a separate union, SEIU Local 73. But this year, for the first time ever, the two unions synchronized their contract negotiations and strike dates in order to join forces on the picket lines. As a result, roughly 1 in every 100 people in Chicago is now on strike—“the new one percent,” as some of Pointer’s colleagues dubbed themselves Thursday morning.

During ten months of contract negotiations and public protests, the CTU has frequently trained its fire on the other one percent, calling on the city to raise taxes on the rich and reverse tax giveaways to developers in order to free up revenue for increased staffing and student supports. If Chicago teachers win, they could usher in dramatic policy shifts in the nation’s third-largest school district, and propel even further the national movement for public education they helped jump-start in 2012.

Read more: https://prospect.org/labor/chicago-teachers-and-staff-walk-out-for-community-needs/
(American Prospect)

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