February 1, 2021
Sisters and brothers:
Your solidarity is working! The mayor and CPS have agreed to continue bargaining tomorrow, Tuesday, as our members continue to teach and work remotely. We are not locked out today or tomorrow because of your unity, your commitment to your school communities, and your fearless solidarity.
Your resolve on the ground allowed us to make real progress at the bargaining table today on a number of the most difficult issues of this negotiation.
None of this is easy. I know that the uncertainty and risk we all confront takes a toll. And all of the progress we’ve made to date in winning real gains at the table is possible because of the tireless work and dedication of our rank and file members, our strike captains, our delegates, our parents, our allies, and ordinary Chicagoans who trust us to do what’s right by our schoolchildren.
We are literally working to steer CPS to a more responsible path to reopen schools safely, and we are winning. We don’t want a strike. We want to keep working remotely as we bargain an agreement to return to our classrooms safely. And despite the volley of harsh and rhetoric we’ve confronted over the weekend from management, they’ve agreed today to stay at the table rather than escalating conflict or locking out educators.
Parents, the public and the press all know we are staying remote, and that we are willing to keep teaching AND keep negotiating. Your resolve has convinced CPS and the Mayor to allow us to continue to educate the overwhelming majority of Black and Latinx students who continue to choose remote learning while we work on landing an agreement to return to our classrooms and our school communities SAFELY.
I am so proud to work with each and every one of you. You are setting an example for every educator in the nation that shows the power of unity, solidarity, courage, resolve, and the power of our commitment to the greater good. Stay strong. Our fight is righteous — and when we fight, we win.
CTU President Jesse Sharkey