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  • Hundreds of teachers and supporters march, days before the teacher's union was set to go on strike if a contract settlement was not reached, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 14, 2019.

    Hundreds of teachers and supporters march, days before the teacher's union was set to go on strike if a contract settlement was not reached, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 14, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 November 2019

The deal includes a 16 percent pay raise for teachers, US$35 million to enforce class size limits, and a commitment to put nurses and social workers in every school by 2023.

United States Chicago teachers approved Friday the contract deal that ended a 14-day strike, which includes pay raises, US$35 million to enforce limits on class sizes and a pledge to supply each school with a nurse and a social worker.

RELATED:
US: Chicago Teachers to Go on Strike Oct.17 If Deal Not Reached

“This contract is a powerful advance for our city and our movement for real equity and educational justice for our school communities and the children we serve,” the union’s president Jesse Sharkey said in a press release.

The agreement comprises a 16 percent pay raise for teachers during the five-year contract, US$35 million to enforce class size limits - which teachers said exceeded 30 to 40 students in some schools - and a commitment to put nurses and social workers in every school by 2023.

The Chicago Teachers Union’s 25,000 members went on strike Oct. 17 following months of unsuccessful negotiations with the school district and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration.

For 14 days, teachers held marches and rallies across the city; the third-largest U.S. public school district kept school buildings open but canceled two weeks of classes. Union leaders have agreed to make up five of the school days lost to the strike

“Our contract fight was about the larger movement to shift values and priorities in Chicago,” CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said in a union news release adding that “working-class taxpayers in Chicago have paid for skyscrapers that most will never visit - but a school nurse is someone their child in need can see on any day.”

After more than half of the union’s elected delegates tentatively approved the agreement, the CTU suspended the strike on Oct. 31 but on Friday the union tweeted that with 80 percent of schools reporting, 81 percent of members had voted yes to ratify the new contract.

The contract now must be approved by the Chicago Board of Education, which is scheduled to meet Nov. 20. 

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