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Chicago Teachers’ Strike Enters Second Week Despite Tentative Deal: ‘A Victory For Working People In Chicago’

(Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter

The Chicago teacher’s strike entered its second week Monday, marking the eighth day that 300,000 Chicago students have gone without classes.

One of the unions participating in the strike, SEIU Local 73 which represents 7,500 school support staff currently on strike, reached a tentative agreement with Chicago Public Schools announced on Sunday night, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. However, the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) will continue to strike until the union’s bargaining team finishes reviewing the deal’s final terms, the publication reports.

”This is a victory for working people in Chicago and shows what is possible when we unite and take action,” said President Dian Palmer of the SEIU Local 73, speaking at Malcolm X College on Sunday night, according to Chicago Sun-Times. (RELATED: Former California School Teacher Says Teachers Unions Are At The Root Of Progressive Sex Education)

“The lowest-paid workers, who are the backbone of our schools, are going to see raises that mean their families won’t have to struggle living in an expensive city where costs keep going up.”

Palmer also said that SEIU will join CTU to support them as they continue to strike on Monday morning — marking the first time in history that both SEIU and CTU went on strike simultaneously, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Schools chief Janice Jackson discussed the tentative deal Sunday night at a news conference at City Hall, saying she was “incredibly thrilled” at the deal reached with SEIU. Jackson also acknowledged that not much will change until the city reaches a deal with CTU as well.

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11: Chicago public school teachers and their supporters picket in front of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters on September 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. More than 26,000 teachers and support staff walked off their jobs yesterday after the Chicago Teachers Union failed to reach an agreement with the city on compensation, benefits and job security. With about 350,000 students, the Chicago school district is the third largest in the United States. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 11: Chicago public school teachers and their supporters picket in front of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters on September 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“The custodians, bus aides, special education classroom assistants and security officers who make up SEIU are absolutely essential to our schools,” Jackson said. “These are the tough jobs that ensure that our schools run effectively, and I’m so glad that we’ll be able to provide them with the strong and fair deal that results in a very generous raise and real improvements to their working conditions.”

The terms of the SEIU deal have not yet been released, but the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Chicago Public Schools offered SEIU the same offer made to CTU: a 16 percent pay increase dispersed over five years and additional personal days, stipends, and paths to become full-time employees for bus aides. (RELATED: Here’s Where America’s Largest Teachers’ Union Stands On Abortion)

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 23: Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets, stopping traffic and circling City Hall in a show support for the ongoing teachers strike on October 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Union teachers and school staff members are demanding more funding from the city in order to lower class sizes, hire more support staff, and build new affordable housing for the 16,000 Chicago Public Schools students whose families are homeless. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 23: Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets, stopping traffic and circling City Hall in a show support for the ongoing teachers strike on October 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot canceled all public school classes Oct. 17 in anticipation of that the mass teachers’ strike would begin.

“Without question, the deal we put on the table is the best in the Chicago Teachers union history,” Lightfoot said on Oct. 16, according to the AP. “Despite all this, the Chicago Teachers Union intends to forge ahead with a strike.”

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