TODAY: 9:00PM, Tuesday, October 18
UCSN Esmeralda Santiago Elementary School, 2510 W. Cortez St. UEU members will be bargaining at Santiago with management up until our strike deadline at midnight tonight.
IF UEU strikes, teachers and support staff will hold a press availability at 4AM at the headquarters of Chicago ACTS, 1400 W. Hubbard, Chicago.
Press contacts: Erica Stewart, firstname.lastname@example.org, 773-332-6513; Chris Geovanis, email@example.com, 312-446-4939
“We don’t want to strike -- but we will if we must to protect the quality of education for our kids," say teachers, support staff, who say UNO contract proposal could increase class sizes, hurt classroom conditions.
CHICAGO: With the possibility of an historic strike still on the table, union teachers and support staff will update the press and public tonight at 9PM tonight on the status of their negotiations with one of the city’s largest charter school operators, UNO Charter School Network. Members of UEU -- the United Educators of UNO – will convene outside Santiago Elementary School, the location of tonight’s bargaining session.
If UEU members hit the picket lines on Wednesday -- the date they have set to walk out if no agreement is reached by midnight tonight, the strike will mark the first against a charter school operator in the nation’s history. On October 6, UEU announced the results of its strike vote, with over 95% of the membership of 532 voting to support a strike.
Close to 8,000 overwhelmingly low-income Latino students attend schools in Chicago’s publicly funded, privately run 15-campus UNO Charter School Network, which has been bargaining with UEU’s teachers and support staff for almost eight months. UEU hopes to avoid a strike -- but management is demanding concessions that threaten workers’ economic security and undermine conditions for students in the classroom -- including the potential to increase class size, a move that is also wildly unpopular with students and parents in a system that is also reeling from staffing shortages driven by mass layoffs in August.
UNO Charter School Network’s failure to settle with the union to date represents an about-face from UNO’s original mission to safeguard the publicly funded education of low-income Latino children. In 1987, when UNO was still a grassroots community group that fought for the betterment of working class residents and their children, the organization marched 300 strong on CPS headquarters IN SUPPORT of public schoolteachers’ battle to keep class sizes down, safeguard their economic security and protect the quality of education for students. Today, union members say, UNO Charter School Network instead is “broke on purpose” -- playing a financial shell game rather than being honest about their finances, much like the shady dealings of its disgraced parent UNO.
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The United Educators of UNO (UEU) is a council of the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers Staff (ChiACTS) and affiliated with Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.