Chicago teachers are taking a strike vote today. While the vote will not necessarily lead to a strike, it is the next step required before a union-sanctioned and legal strike may begin. It is also likely to pass, as strike votes are generally preceded by straw polls to gauge members’ readiness for a strike.
A strike is also the necessary and correct next step for Chicago teachers, who are being required by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to work a 20% longer day for only 2% more in wages, according to ABC news. CPS also wants to bring in merit pay, larger class sizes and 60 new charter schools over the next five years, which would dramatically weaken the union as charter schools are rarely unionized.
The teachers’ contract ends this month. The results of the vote are expected by the end of the week. If successful, a strike action could begin at the beginning of the fall, 2012 school year. The last major teachers’ strike in Chicago was in 1987.