More than 30,000 workers are walking out of Chicago Public Schools today to demand better pay and benefits, smaller class sizes and more nurses, counselors, social workers, and librarians.
The historic strike has brought the country’s third-largest school system to a standstill, with classes canceled for more than 350,000 students.
The strike was confirmed Wednesday when the Chicago Teachers Union rejected a final offer by the city’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, following months of labor negotiations.
The city offered pay raises of 16% over a five-year period, while union representatives have been calling for a 15% increase over three years.
Seven thousand five hundred public school workers with the Service Employees International Union are also striking today after rejecting their own offer from the city.
From Chicago, Democracy Now! speaks with Stacy Davis Gates, executive vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and Science Meles, executive vice president of SEIU Local 73, about the strike and public school workers’ demands.
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