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Chicago Teachers Union Members Are Fighting for Students, Schools and Respect

9/07/2012

Statement of Support by IFT President Dan Montgomery

The 26,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) want what all educational professionals want – the best for the students and schools they serve and the respect they deserve for the important work they do.

Unfortunately, CTU members who work hard every day to educate and inspire more than 400,000 students in one of the nation’s largest and most diverse school districts are being pushed to the breaking point by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and a mayor who have refused to keep their promises. CPS and Mayor Rahm Emanuel insist on imposing unfair changes that impact teaching and schools, with no input from the professionals who know best what works for students.

CTU members have been negotiating since November 2011 with CPS in an effort to reach a fair settlement and to ensure that Chicago schools have the resources needed to give students the education they deserve. Like all professionals, CTU members ask only to be paid fairly for their work. They seek a reasonable guarantee of job security to ensure that the most qualified employees will help students plan to achieve their greatest potentials. And to enhance student learning, CTU is fighting to guarantee that kids in every school have access to the rich curricula of art, music, physical education and world languages they need to pursue brighter futures in technical careers, higher education and beyond.

The members of the Chicago Teachers Union do not take a possible strike lightly. CTU has not been forced to strike since 1987, and CTU President Karen GJ Lewis and the union’s leadership are committed to doing everything possible to avert a strike and reach a fair settlement.

As IFT president, I am proud that CTU members and leaders are standing up for what is right for students and education. Their fight is every educator’s fight. It should be every parent’s and citizen’s fight, too, because we know that well-educated students and high-quality schools strengthen our communities and improve all our lives.

The 103,000 members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers all across this state proudly stand with our brothers and sisters in the Chicago Teachers Union as they work to secure a fair contract that provides kids with the schools they deserve and gives education professionals the respect they have earned. The IFT is committed to working tirelessly to support CTU members and leaders as they labor to do the right thing – not just for members, students and education in Chicago, but for all of Illinois.
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