Chicago Teachers Strike: Police Arrest 3 Teachers As CPS Files Labor Charges Against Teachers Union
Chicago police arrested three individuals who joined the teachers' protest in Chicago April 1. The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) also lodged charges against the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) for Friday's walkout citing that the strike was an illegal act.
ABC reports that three teachers, who still remain unidentified, were arrested, but police spokesperson Kevin Quaid declined to reveal details about the arrest. The police also cited one individual with a ticket as hundreds of teachers and union members rallied downtown.
The Chicago teachers strike essentially shut down school operations for over 330,000 students in the city. The teachers were protesting against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for diverting and mismanaging city funds, as Parent Herald previously reported.
Chicago Public Schools files labor charges
Officials of the CPS filed a complaint about the Chicago teachers strike with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board citing the CTU didn't follow the governing laws. The CPS also asked the board to disallow similar types of protests to take place in the future and said that the ban should be a "permanent, pre-emptive injunction."
"We have to know going forward that yes, this is not acceptable, it is not legal, cease and desist," said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool, per Chicago Tribune. As state laws require, certain steps have to be undertaken, including a fact-finding discussion between both sides and a negotiator, before teachers can mount protests. The CPS and CTU were still in the midst of their negotiations when the walkout was staged.
Chicago Teachers Union stands by their move
Friday's protest was in reaction to the CPS halting pay increases, which should be part of the teachers' old contracts. "The district has always paid our steps and lanes since 1967. Our lawyers say this shows it's an unfair labor practice strike," said CTU executive board member Sarah Chambers, via Alternet.
Meanwhile, as teachers' contracts are about to expire in June, the union decided that the Chicago teachers strike should take place as soon as possible to show officials that they are a united front. "We got to this point because CPS has been starving our schools for years. It has been death by a thousand cuts," said Chambers. "We've seen over the years more layoffs, class sizes increasing, cuts to counsellors and clinicians, our schools being closed, private schools and charters opening up."
The teachers also cite that they are unable to function better on "low-level funding" and more budget cuts as the mayor and the education board continue to take out loans to support public schools. "We go further into debt, so the cuts keep coming," said Chambers.