As Day One of the teachers strike ended, Chicago Teachers Union leadership strongly criticized claims made by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that the union lacked urgency to end the work stoppage.
“I’m concerned that there’s not a sense of urgency to get a deal done,” Lightfoot said Thursday in a joint interview with CPS CEO Janice Jackson on “Chicago Tonight.” Lightfoot said CTU cut short bargaining Thursday morning after about three hours.
Responding on “Chicago Tonight,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey strongly refuted that claim and others.
“I lost track of the falsehoods,” Sharkey said about Lightfoot and Jackson’s interview. “It’s riddled with things that are not true.”
Sharkey says he spent all day at the negotiating table until he left for a rally, and even then, the CTU had its “entire rank and file negotiating team working on proposals. We had our lawyers there trading proposals back and forth,” he said. “We put in a hard day at the table.”
CPS classes have been canceled Friday, ensuring the strike will last at least through the weekend.
One sticking point between the city and union has been class size. The CTU wants hard caps to classes to limit overcrowding.
Sharkey said progress was made on the issue Thursday, but it still falls short of the union’s demands.
“Today at the table we saw the city’s team finally put something in writing on class size,” Sharkey said. “It was a proposal that has some important stuff in it that we’re going to continue working off of.”
Contract negotiations are set to resume Friday and are expected to continue over the weekend.