News & Politics

Teachers Strike in Chicago Getting Personal as Mayor Says 'There's No More Money. Period.'

Teachers Strike in Chicago Getting Personal as Mayor Says 'There's No More Money. Period.'
Colleen McDonough, a first-grade teacher at Walt Disney Magnet School in Chicago holds a picket sign outside the school, Friday, April 1, 2016, during a one-day strike by Chicago teachers and supporters aimed at halting education funding cuts. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

An attorney representing Chicago Public Schools made a small request of union leaders who are trying to negotiate an end to the three day old strike: Spend more time negotiating and less time marching in the streets.

That brought an outraged response from union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates: “Rich white men tell black women with children in the Chicago Public Schools what to do all the time.”

The lawyer, of course was making a suggestion, not trying to tell anyone what to do. But how else can the radical teachers union get all these white people to shut up and hand over the money if they don’t accuse them of being racist?

The union is winning and they know it. That’s why they are being relentless in their demands for more, more, and more of everything.

Chicago Tribune:

Chicago teachers union negotiations are heading into the weekend after the second day of a teachers strike ended without a contract deal.

Once again, union officials pointed to progress — particularly in getting a written counterproposal on one of their major concerns, getting more nurses, librarians, social workers, special education case managers and bilingual teachers into schools.

The city has offered to hire 250 more school nurses. The union wants a nurse in all 520 schools. More than that, the union is demanding that new teachers and the 16,000 homeless students in the system get access to public housing. They also want smaller class sizes, more guidance counselors, more librarians, more, more, more…

Apparently, the union leaders don’t read the newspapers. The city already has a budget crisis.

On Wednesday the mayor is scheduled to unveil next year’s budget and explain how City Hall will close an $838 million hole. Chicago, city of government largesse and weak will, has confronted big budget gaps before and managed them badly. Often the city has masked overspending by borrowing more money. It has raised property taxes, and still the budget hole has grown due to a massive shortfall in the pension funds for city workers, including police and firefighters.

In August Lightfoot said she “rejected” the familiar approaches of another historically large property tax increase, large-scale borrowing and short-changing city pension funds. On Wednesday, we’ll all see what she actually proposes. The fact is, about $280 million of the budget gap is attributable to a mandated additional payment into the police and fire funds — a strong-arming of the city into meeting its obligations. If Chicago had been responsible instead of overspending while skimping on pension fund contributions, it wouldn’t be in this mess.

So how is she going to close the budget gap, fully fund the pensions, and pay the teachers’ union extortion all at the same time?


“The teachers’ demands are unaffordable,” said Adam Schuster, with the Illinois Policy Institute. “They’re out of line with economic reality and they’re out of line with what the tax base can afford.”

To meet CTU’s demands, the Illinois Policy Institute said the typical Chicago homeowner’s property tax bill would rise by at least $235, while Mayor Lightfoot’s offer would add $13 to the bill.

Mayor Lightfoot said if she agrees to everything the teachers want it would cost $2.5 billion per year.

“That would double the cost of the CTU contract agreeing to an extra $2.5 billion in cost would be completely irresponsible,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

There is absolutely no money to be had — not in the city or the state. It is a remarkable exercise in clout to see the teachers’ union put a gun to the head of the city and hold it up for money it doesn’t have who will get it from taxpayers who can’t afford it.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member