Chicago public schools remained closed all week during the most recent Chicago Teachers Union strike, as negotiations entered their second weekend. Meanwhile, the CTU has been providing its member teachers with "civil disobedience training," indicating that the union may be preparing to use more drastic tactics to get their way in the ongoing negotiations.
The length of this strike has already matched the length of the 2012 teachers strike, and there are indications from both sides that they have still not reached agreement on the "major issues" that led to the strike in the first place. Accordingly, unless a major breakthrough occurs at the negotiating table this weekend, the strike seems likely to continue.
In addition to canceled classes, Chicago students are facing canceled athletic events, including the end-of-season playoffs in many sports. Some prep athletes filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction that would allow them to compete during the strike, but a judge ruled against the athletes on Friday, meaning that for some Chicago area teams, their seasons prematurely came to an end on Friday night.
As a sign that the CTU believes they are winning — or at least can win — the PR fight with the city, they provided members with "civil disobedience training" on Thursday night in anticipation of a Friday morning march, in which hundreds of teachers marched from Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park to City Hall. As they marched, they chanted, "get up, get down, Chicago is a union town."
The teachers had planned to block Chicago's vital Lake Shore Drive as part of their efforts, but they were met by police on bicycles who prevented them from entering the drive and probably unwittingly saved them from angering a huge percentage of Chicago's population by preventing a major traffic debacle.
According to WLS-TV, Chicago Public Schools negotiators say that "tentative" agreement has been reached with the union on about 80 "smaller" issues, which means that the sides are currently negotiating on the core issues like classroom size, support staffing, and salary increases.
Additionally, WLS reports that the sides are at loggerheads over proceeds from Tax Increment Financing. Union leaders want the proceeds of this financing to go to them, while CPS officials say that is not possible.