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Amid Wednesday Protests, Chicago Teachers Union Faces Unfair Labor Charge

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 22, 2016 3:55PM

Facebook / Chicago Teachers Union

Demonstrators led by the Chicago Teachers Union protested at five sites Wednesday morning to reiterate a host of concerns.

Protestors called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration and Chicago Public Schools to put forth a plan for revenue for the beleaguered school system; they also advocated for an elected school board and demonstrated against the city's police oversight mechanism. But all that was just the beginning of the day's drama: hours before those protests began—including one outside the Chicago Board of Education—Chicago Public Schools announced intentions to file an unfair labor practice charge against the Union. The suit stems from a separate protest over lack of revenue, back on April 1. CPS called that action an "illegal one-day strike; and claims CTU “forcibly expelling members who exercised their right to refuse to participate.”

A statement issued by CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool holds up those who declined to participate as the true moral actors. “These dedicated professionals should not be expelled for exercising their right to refuse participation in an illegal strike—especially when they came to school to put their students first.”

The CTU did not mince words in their counter-statement, issued by spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin:

"CPS must come out of the Twilight Zone and join the rest of Chicago in the reality that is in front of us. Teachers are fighting for equitable, progressive revenue solutions so our schools will stay open in the fall and our students will not see further cuts to their education. We find it ironic that Mr. Claypool is now obsessed with defending the ‘rights’ of our members, when CPS has laid off more than 4,000 veteran educators—most of whom are Black and Latino—has closed 54 public schools, cut special education, and has no fiscal strategy in place that will keep the doors open this summer, let alone in the months and years to come."

Protests are expected to carry into the afternoon. While Chicago schools face up to 30 percent in budget cuts, plus a $1 billion budget shortfall, city officials have opted to lobby for state funds.