* More evidence that the governor’s first term in office is not ending the way he initially hoped…
On Tuesday, teachers at 15 Chicago charter schools voted 98 percent to authorize a strike as they continue to bargain a contract with Acero Schools, the largest unionized charter network in the city. On Friday, four locations of the Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS) will take a strike authorization vote. And teachers at nine other Chicago charter networks are also in contract negotiations, and could similarly opt to take strikes votes in the coming months.
If no agreement is reached, Chicago could be home to the nation’s first-ever charter strike. Teachers have been inching closer to this possibility for the past two years, during which time eleventh-hour deals have narrowly averted strikes against at least three other charter operators.
That’s a stunning reversal from 2012, when Chicago charter operators bragged that, unlike unionized public schools, charters were unaffected by teacher strikes.
Since then, “Chicago has become the epicenter of charter union organizing in the country,” as Illinois Network of Charter Schools President Andrew Broy lamented in the Chicago Tribune last year.
What’s more, charter teachers are currently bargaining their first contracts as members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which also represents the city’s 27,000 public school teachers. In March, the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers that represents more than 30 charters in the city, merged with the CTU in a bid to strengthen the hands of both unions.