98 percent of teachers and staff in the the largest network of unionized charter educators in Chicago voted to authorize a strike. The network represents over five hundred members at nineteen schools across the city. Four more schools associated with a smaller network have joined in authorizing a strike.
This would be the first time charter teachers have gone on strike since 2011, when two dozen teachers at Philadelphia’s Khepera charter school staged a wildcat sick-out. And the first time hundreds of charter school educators across two major networks have walked off the job en masse.
This is not the first time Chicago charter teachers have threatened to strike. In May 2017, teachers at Passages Charter School in the North Side’s Edgewater neighborhood nearly walked off the job.
Contract negotiations hinge on the need for smaller class sizes, more support for special-education services, higher salaries and better benefits, and changes to working conditions.
A strike at a major charter network would likely inspire more organizing of this type. This is what happened with the 2012 CTU strike, and it’s what happened with the teachers strikes earlier this year.