About fifty Chicago Public School teachers from Lane Tech High School conducted an informational picket after classes let out this afternoon. The teachers, wearing matching red tops and black pants or skirts shouted chants calling for smaller class sizes and more student support services while passing out flyers along Western and Addison Avenues to students and parents waiting to pick up their kids.
Last week the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) announced Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers would walk out on strike on Monday, September 10 if CTU and CPS cannot come to an agreement on teacher contracts.
“We’re hoping to get a contract signed. We definitely don’t want to go on strike,” said Lane Tech Union Representative Cynthia Smith as she walked a picket line on Western Ave. “If the negotiations don’t continue, I’m sorry. This is the last thing we want to see.” According to Smith, 98% of the 240 member teachers at Lane Tech voted to strike.
While passing cars, CTA busses and even police squad cars honked in approval of the demonstrators, students, streaming out of the school, seemed to take little notice of the demonstrating teachers. Students we interviewed seemed convinced there would be a strike, but they were not quite clear on what the strike was about.
“I don’t know exactly what it is. Wages, and more time in school, I think,” said Lane Tech sophomore Tony.
“What I heard is that the mayor passed a law that teachers aren’t allowed to strike,” said a sophomore student named Irving.
“They’re definately going on strike. It’s about more class time,” said a sophomore named Brian.