In recent weeks, the Board of Education has waged a fierce attack in the media on teachers represented by CTU Local 1 in the Chicago Public School system, focused primarily on the length of the school day.
Now-in a show of support for CPS teachers-Local 1 and other unions representing thousands of service and support staff at CPS are calling for an end to the Board’s confrontational rhetoric. In a press conference today, these unions released a statement, encouraging instead a more respectful dialogue and collaboration with staff who work directly with our city’s children to achieve improvements in the quality of education in Chicago Public Schools.
Unions participating who released a statement represent thousands of service and support staff at the school, such as custodians, lunchroom workers, aides, security guards and engineers, who will also face separate contract negotiations with the Board of Education in coming months. UNITE HERE Local 1 President Henry Tamarin and Local 1 member Linda Green, a lunchroom worker at Chicago Public Schools, both spoke at the press conference.
Local 1 was one of 5 unions that signed on to the following statement to the
Board of Education:
“We represent the employees of Chicago Public Schools who are not teachers. We are the Aides, Security Guards, Custodians, Engineers, Lunchroom Workers and all the other workers who are responsible for Chicago’s children from the moment they step on to the school grounds in the morning until they leave at the end of the day.
We are professionals who make sure that the school buildings work, are clean, that our children our safe and that they are fed. When it comes to Chicago’s kids, we are where the rubber meets road.
We’re proud of the work we do and think that the children of Chicago are serious business and should be treated in that fashion. We ask that the Board of Education take a more constructive and serious approach with us on addressing our mutual issues.
The Administration thus far has chosen to engage in a media campaign against the teachers, rather than thoughtful negotiations, to the detriment of the entire community. We are all in this together, and are all in this for the children that we are here to support. There has yet to be a proposal from the administration across the bargaining table for a longer school day – we first read about it in the newspaper rather than hearing about it from the administrations’ negotiators.
We didn’t create the length of the school day, the Board of Education did. We’re willing to negotiate extending the school day, but this takes good faith negotiations, not more Board of Education press statements and confrontational rhetoric and tactics. Our children deserve a more respectful and thoughtful approach.”