Teachers upset enough to ask for strike vote, union chief says
BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org August 12, 2011 8:54PM
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis | Sun-Times files
Updated: October 19, 2011 2:51AM
The president of the Chicago Teachers Union said Friday on a radio show that there is a “very high” likelihood that teachers will ask her to take a strike vote, given how angry and disrespected they feel.
But clarifying later to the Chicago Sun-Times, Karen Lewis said she did not predict that teachers will ultimately go on strike, only that the probability is high that members will call for a strike vote.
“People are very upset. People feel disrespected,’’ Lewis told WLS- AM Radio’s Connected to Chicago, which airs at 6 a.m. Sunday.
“We have teachers who have been extremely vilified for political purposes,’’
Faced with a tougher new bar for approving a strike, Lewis said she would only call for a strike vote if teachers came to her and requested it. But, given the disrespect and “loss of dignity” teachers feel, Lewis said, the likelihood of teachers wanting a strike vote is “very high.’’
Among other things, CTU members are angry about more than 1,500 teacher layoffs and a growing “do not hire” list that CPS developed in “secret,’’ Lewis told the Sun-Times.
The CTU and other unions that work in schools are currently discussing CPS’s decision to rescind promised raises. A breakdown in those talks could open the door for the first teachers strike since 1987.
However, under a new law, 75 percent of eligible CTU voters would have to approve that vote — up from a previous simple majority of all those who voted.