“Labor Today salutes the great groundbreaking trade union Chicago teachers Union for leading the way —- This time organizing charter school teachers and now leading them in a heroic strike”
By Manny Ramos email@example.com
By Alice Yin firstname.lastname@example.org
By Lauren FitzPatrick @bylaurenfitz email@example.com
The historic Acero charter-schools strike is set to enter its second day Wednesday as teachers plan to hit picket lines at Acero’s campuses by 6:30 a.m., the teachers union said late Tuesday.
Then the Chicago Teachers Union will hold a rally at 10 a.m. just before the Chicago Board of Education’s monthly meeting at 42 W. Madison St. Union President Jesse Sharkey plans to discuss the strike during the Chicago Public Schools board meeting at 10:30 a.m.
Picket lines stretched two and a half blocks around Acero’s downtown Chicago headquarters at 209 W Jackson Blvd. on Tuesday as the nation’s first strike by charter-school educators canceled classes for thousands of students.
Acero teachers participating in negotiations said Tuesday that management has refused to make concessions on their key issues of pay, classroom conditions and sanctuary status for students.
“We intend to stay on strike until we receive justice for the people who go to our schools and the people who work at our schools,” Sharkey said. “Know this, we are not going to quit until we get what’s right.”
First-year teacher Amanda Bright said she left her home state of Ohio to work for Acero schools.
“I believed in their mission and vision that was explained to me, which is to help minority students who need it the most,” Bright said. “We are fighting for [our students], we are not getting paid, we don’t want to be here. I would love to be in my classroom right now teaching Algebra 2, but I’m not because we are making sure they are getting the opportunities they deserve.”
Teachers for the Acero charter schools network began picketing Tuesday morning, shutting down 15 government-funded campuses operated by the privately-managed Acero, which used to be known as the UNO Charter School Network. Acero teachers were bolstered by support from the Chicago Teachers Union and national labor leader Randi Weingarten.
About 550 teachers and paraprofessionals aren’t showing up for classes at one of the largest charter networks in Chicago, forcing Acero’s management to close its doors to the 7,500 students enrolled.
Acero leaders encouraged parents to keep their kids at home. The charter network also directed parents to Chicago Park District programs and some YMCA locations. A complete list of school-specific resources was posted on the network’s website.
Teachers and support staff started picketing at 6:30 a.m. at Acero’s VMC/Veterans Memorial Campus, 4248 W. 47th St., whose modern building, housing two schools, had gotten the previous charter management into financial trouble. Continue reading