News and Links #ShutDownChi April 1 Day of Action

This page contains links to information and media coverage of the April 1 #ShutDownChi Day of action. Please share these widely and use the Memes and other resources on our Social Media page

Map of April 1 Events

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April 4, 2016

A Strike is Not a Walk in the Park: Michelle Gunderson Discusses Chicago Picket Lines
by By Michelle Gunderson
via Living In Dialogue

(radio interviews) Chicago Teachers Union Goes On Strike, Leads Citywide Fight For Funding
by Wort News Dept. and Darien Lamen

Chicago teachers strike puts focus on Rauner, state budget crisis
by Teresa Albano via Peoples World

Chicago teachers strike moves into second week
By Amelia Hamilton via WatchDog 

April 2, 2016
by Jackson Danbeck via The DePaulia 

By Richard Blake and Fernando Figueroa
via Fight Back News

by Sarah Tisinger via WQAD8

April 1, 2016
by Sarah Macaraeg
via Truth Out

by Olivia Lowenberg
via the Christian Science Monitor

by Kari Lydersen and Emma Brown
via Washington Post

by Doug Stanglin
via USA Today

Teachers Who Strike Friday Will Not Be Disciplined, Just Unpaid.
by Lauren FitzPatrick
via Chicago SunTimes 

March 30, 2016

Chicago Teacher: Why We Will Strike
by Michelle Strater Gunderson
via Living in Dialogue

Chicago Teachers Union Pushes Broad Message for Fiscal Reform with Walkout

by Diane Rado and Juan Perez Jr.
via Chicago Tribune 

March 29, 2016

CTU Strike On for Friday: Here's Their Plan
by Ted Cox
via DNAinfo Chicago

Chicago Teachers Union Walkout Raises Legal Questions
by Juan Perez Jr.
via Chicago Tribune

March 28, 2016

Why I am walking out with the CTU on April 1
by Alison Eichorn
via Chicago Tribune

Why I teach — and why I fight for my CPS students 
by Erika Wozniak 
via Chicago Tribue 

Speak Your Truth as You Know It 

Rauner, Not the CTU, is Throwing the Real Tantrum
via Chicago Teaches Union

March 26, 2016

Chicago Teachers Union's Vote: Union Democracy in Action

Chicago Teachers Union approves one-day stunt “strike” on April 1 via World Socialist Web Site:

March 25, 2016

Fight for $15 to Join Chicago Teachers Union's April 1 Strike
via Chicago Tribune 

Labor Groups Fall In Line Behind Teacher Union's Day Of Action via @DNAinfoCHI

Why Chicago schools say a possible teachers strike is illegal 
via The Christian Science Monitor

No school for CPS on Good Friday, 1st of 3 furlough days 
via ABC 7 Chicago 

No school on Good Friday due to CPS furlough day 

‘Lucha por $15’ se une a maestros en huelga el 1 de abril 

Fast Food Workers to Strike April 1, Joining Chicago Teachers "Day of Action" Windy City Times 

March 24, 2016

One-Day Strike to Focus on Revenue Solutions for Schools, City and State
via Chicago Teachers Union

CTU responds to Claypool’s statement on legality of historic April 1 one-day teachers strike
via Chicago Teachers Union

Chicago Teachers Union votes to hold one-day strike on April 1 
via Washington Post

Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Teachers Union negotiations continue after delegates approve April 1 walkout
via ABC 7 Chicago

Chicago Teachers Union Overwhelmingly Votes To Strike April 1 via DNAinfo Chicago

Unions, community groups joining Chicago teachers for walkout on April 1 
via WGN News 

Union Representing Teachers at Several Illinois Universities Joins April 1 Walkout 
via NBC Chicago

Chicago Teachers Union Approves One-Day Walkout on April 1 
via Education Week 

CPS Sets Up 250 Sites Where Kids Can Go When Teachers Strike April 1 
via DNAinfo Chicago

CTU “showdown” roundup
via Capitol Fax

Chicago Teachers to Strike for Public Schools and Services

CTU President Karen Lewis Explains 1-Day Teachers Strike
via Chicago Tonight 

Hey, Mayor Rahm—join the Chicago teachers' strike! 

Chicago teachers authorize one-day walkout 
via Yahoo News

Chicago teachers vote to stage one-day strike 
via American School & University

Claypool, CTU Clash Over April 1 Walkout, CPS Offers Parents 'Contingency' Plan 

I Just Saved Rahm and CPS Millions During My Lunch Period 

March 23, 2016

Chicago Teachers Union Delegates Vote to Approve April 1 Walkout 

Chicago Teachers Union approves walkout on April 1 

CTU Delegates Vote in Favor of April 1 ‘Day of Action’ 

"We're Dying The Death Of A Thousand Cuts," Says CTU Ahead Of April 1 Walkout 

CTU delegates vote in favor of April 1 teacher walkout 
via The Chicago Tribune

Chicago Teachers Union Overwhelmingly Votes To Strike April 1 via @DNAinfoCHI

Chicago Teachers Union Approves Walkout on April 1 
via ABC News 

CTU votes yes to April 1 'showdown' strike 
via Chicago Sun Times 

CTU approves plan for April 1 walkout 
via Crain's Chicago Business

March 19, 2016

Updated April 1 FAQ

Is it legal to strike April 1?
The Chicago Teachers Union officers’ strike proposal is legal. No judge or legal authority has ruled such a strike illegal. When Chicago Public Schools refused to pay CTU members our lanes and steps, we contend that was an unfair labor practice.
CPS will try to intimidate and divide our members by threatening retaliation and saying it is illegal. Unions can, however, withhold their labor to protest violations of labor law. In 2012 the mayor tried to declare our strike illegal, even though we played by their rules. We fully expect these threats again. CPS cannot replace 27,000 educators. When we are united and build strong alliances, there is little they can do to stop us.
Why are we asking members to strike on April 1?
CTU leadership is asking membership to strike on April 1 to demand revenue for our schools, and to build our momentum by joining with thousands of parents, community members and other labor organizations. This action would need to be approved by the CTU House of Delegates.
If the Union's elected delegates vote on March 23 to strike on April 1, we are asking members to start picketing their schools at 6:30 a.m. and not go to work. This is not a “walk out” or abandonment of children in classrooms. There will be other activities around the city throughout the day, in conjunction with other union workers, to demand the revenue needed to fund our schools and other services.
What should I tell parents?
Tell parents that their children deserve fully-funded schools, and that we, as educators, along with their families and communities, have the power to lead the city in a fight against the mayor and governor’s attacks. Ask them to join us as we stand ready to strike and lose one more day of pay to demand that the city and state put money back into our schools.
Why the April 1 date?
CPS said they were taking away 7 percent of our pay starting with our April 1 paycheck. We anticipated that members would want to take action against that large pay cut and started making plans for an Unfair Labor Practice strike that day, which included getting other unions and groups on board to bolster our strength. CPS then said it would not take the 7 percent pay cut on April 1, but could do it on any other day following the fact finding period.
We acknowledge that it would have been best to have scheduled a meeting immediately after the Board of Ed rescinded the threat of the pick-up, but our House of Delegates emergency meeting was already scheduled for March 23.
Why not strike on furlough days?
The furlough days were announced after we had started making plans for April 1 and are not good days for this action for these reasons: a) March 25 is Good Friday; b) the last two days of school in June are furlough days and don't have the same strength of purpose and universal participation as a strike day; c) other unions started the ball rolling for April 1 before we found out CPS was not giving us a pay cut that day; and d) The revenue solutions we need from the state will emerge in April (the Legislature is not scheduled to be in session in June), and our allies at Illinois universities and social services are facing devastating cuts due to Springfield inaction.
Are the furlough days enough for us to claim that the Board has engaged in bad faith bargaining, giving us legal precedent to legally strike?
Furlough days are not considered bad faith bargaining. CPS unfortunately has the right to call furlough days regardless of our contract.
What are the other groups taking part in the April 1 Day of Action?
Labor GroupsUniversity Professors of Illinois local 4100
Northeastern University Illinois Faculty Union
Chicago State University Faculty Union
Fight for $15
United Electrical Workers Western Region
Alliance of Charter School Teachers and Staff 4343
SEIU Healthcare Indiana, Illinois and Missouri
Cook County College Teachers Union local 1600
Amalgamated Transit Union local 308
Jobs With Justice

Community Groups
Grassroots Collaborative
Teachers for Social Justice
Grassroots Education Movement
Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
Black Lives Matter Chicago
ONE Northside
Parents for Teachers
St. James Lutheran – Acts of Love
Village Leadership Academy
Journey for Justice
Black Scholars for Black Lives
Northside Action for Justice
Logan Square Neighborhood association
Communities United
350 Nation
Bridging While Black
Love & Protect
Black on Both Sides

Are the other labor unions that support the April 1 action striking as well, or are they just endorsing our action and coming to the rally in the evening?
Some of our allies also will not be at work that day. More specific information will be provided as it comes in.
Is the CTU at risk of participating in bad faith bargaining if we decide to strike prior to the conclusion of fact finding? And could this strike de-certify our union if it was deemed illegal?
No. We are still at the bargaining table. There is no law in place that would allow de-certification based on this one day of action.
What happens to those who are on maternity leave on April 1? Do they lose a day of pay?
If the schools are shut down, then CPS will not pay anyone, including those on maternity leave.
What should subs do if called to report to schools on April 1?
Subs should absolutely not go to work that day—they should join the picket lines.
Will there be repercussions if we strike April 1?
CPS will not be able to implement repercussions against all of our members other than what they were already planning to prior to April 1—cut pay, increase class sizes, strip special education services, open charter schools, refuse to find additional revenue, etc. If there are any repercussions, they will likely fall on union leadership, not individual members. If we stand together as one, we are all safe.
Do we have to wait to the end of the cooling off period to do an open-ended strike? Why not start a strike April 1 and keep it going?
There are legal repercussions if we start an open-ended contract strike before the end of the “cooling off” period, which is mandated by state law.
What will happen if students and some staff show up April 1?
If the March 23 House of Delegates meeting approves the April 1 action, we will publicize it to ensure that parents know to join us or to make other arrangements that day. Our goal is to have all staff participate in this action.
If we are out April 1, can CPS cancel our health insurance?
You do not need to be present on the first of every month to activate your insurance. If your employee status is active, you have health insurance.
(From Chicago Teachers Union website:

March 17, 2016

Why Officers Propose an April 1 Day of Action

The letter and FAQ below were emailed to CTU members on Monday, March 14.
Dear Members:
I write to you as we face a crisis in our schools as deep as any we have seen in a generation. Please know that despite the uncertainty swirling around us, the Chicago Teachers Union will remain a steadfast and determined force in the fight for our contract, for our students and for well-funded public education. Now, as in the past, we see the powerful and wealthy undercut public education, neglect our pension fund, restrict bargaining rights and pass tax breaks for corporations and the rich. Still, they attempt to make us pay for the crisis they created. We are confident in our ability to stand up to them because we remain rooted in our schools and our communities, and we remain strong in our solidarity with one another.
April 1 Day of Action
After threatening us for a month, Chicago Public Schools retracted its promise to cut our pay 7 percent on April 1—though the district is still announcing its plan to cut the pension pickup at the conclusion of fact finding in May. Obviously, we consider the Board of Ed's retreat on this issue a victory for the CTU, but that win must be qualified by CPS’ plan to furlough employees for three days this year. The CTU, which had been seriously considering an unfair labor practice strike on April 1, is not prepared to stand down on that day—we do not trust the Board and we intend to organize a showdown on April 1 over the question of school funding and educational justice. Ultimately, our House of Delegates will decide this at its March 23 meeting. Below, you can read our answers to frequently asked questions about the proposal.
The CTU is not the only force under attack by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the 1 percent they represent. For that reason, we will not be alone in taking action against them, as public service workers—from home health care nurses to university professors—have pledged to join our day of action. Private sector workers, such as McDonald’s employees fighting for a living wage, will also be acting in concert with our union. This is a broad-based, highly coordinated action that will raise the ante for our side just as Rahm, Rauner and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool have coordinated their attacks on us.
April 1 will also highlight our proposals for winning school funding and funding for other important services. In addition to the vocal demands we have been making about toxic swaps and tax increment financing (TIF)—swap terminations cost the district $240 million this year alone, and the TIFs could put enough money into the schools to completely reverse this year’s cuts—we are also calling for a “fair tax,” which is an increase in the income tax for the rich in Illinois. This measure would put nearly $4‑6 billion into state coffers and provide a path to pass a fair school funding formula that would add hundreds of millions of dollars to CPS.  Our calls for increased revenue for the district are now an issue on the national stage, and there is legislation pending in Springfield that would take TIF control out of the mayor's hands and force the release of these funds to our schools.
Contract Negotiations
The April 1 action with our sisters and brothers from other unions and community organizations, and our demands for revenue, are also a large part of our fight for a fair contract. The CTU is demanding that the Board turn from its current course of job cutting, privatizing, over-testing and charter growth. Our bargaining committee—which consists of 47 rank-and-file educators—has set forth three items as the basis for recommending a deal to the CTU membership. We are bargaining for:
(1) Class-size and staff-to-student guarantees. Only guaranteed class size limits and caseloads for clinicians can provide the necessary support our children need in their classrooms and guard against devastating layoffs.
(2) No cuts. We are not looking for a large raise, but educators cannot see our pay and benefits reduced while the wealthiest people and institutions in the state are let off the hook.
(3) Close the loopholes in the promises CPS already made. Last month, the Board offered several promises that we find valuable. Included was a pledge of no economic layoffs; a promise to cap charter schools; a promise to improve REACH and make it less punitive; a moratorium on school closings; a promise to relieve counselors of case management duties; and improvements in areas of lesson planning, paperwork, testing and other aspects of our working conditions. These are all demands which we think are important. Unfortunately, some of the most valuable promises are unenforceable as written, or can be circumvented by state law. We call on the Board to close the loopholes and work with the CTU to change state law where necessary—for example, to abolish the Illinois State Charter School Commission, which voted two weeks ago to overrule three charter school closures mandated by CPS.
So why won’t Emanuel or his handpicked school board give us a contract on these terms—especially when he is suffering many political setbacks and can ill afford a strike? Unfortunately for the mayor, after a career of attacking workers, he now finds himself being attacked by Rauner. The mayor needs Springfield to pass some kind of budget relief for CPS, but the governor appears determined to provoke an even larger fiscal crisis so that he can take control of CPS himself.
Political Action
The power of our collective action and resolve is undeniable. For example, our Elected Representative School Board bill, HB557, was passed overwhelmingly in the House on March 3 by a vote of 110 to 4. Additionally HB4579, which provides that a separate tax shall be levied by the Chicago Board of Education to guarantee contributions to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, passed by an impressive 98-14 vote. Now both bills head to the Senate where we will have to continue to push our legislators to abide by the will of the people. Despite our advances, the district continues its attack on our livelihood and we must continue to fight. Tomorrow, we have  a number of leaders who need our collective strength at the polls, so please be sure to vote.  
Now is the time for us to fight for what we value. The CTU stands as a critical force in position to stop vicious attacks on public services and public education in this state. We are the most influential voice on public education,  outpolling the mayor by a 3:1 margin on matters of education in Chicago. Our tasks may be daunting, but if we fight, we will inspire the public and become part of a larger movement that can win funding for our schools. Ultimately, that is our best hope for defending public education.
In solidarity,
Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT

What kind of action is this?

This is a one-day job action to protest inaction on our contract, bad faith bargaining by Chicago Public Schools and the lack of funding for our schools. The date for an action like this must be officially set by the House of Delegates. A special House of Delegates meeting has been scheduled for March 23 so that delegates can consider setting the April 1 date as recommended by the Chicago Teachers Union’s leadership. With Rahm Emanuel and Forrest Claypool cutting our pay nearly 1.5 percent with three furlough days, still planning to cut our pay an additional 7 percent in a little more than a month, and pursuing school closures and additional budget cuts late into the school year, we must act to demonstrate our resolve. When we make a threat, and back it up, the powers that be take us seriously—and Rahm is already on the ropes. Now is the time to add Gov. Bruce Rauner and his millionaire patrons to our primary target list.

Are we playing an April Fools’ prank on the mayor and the governor?

No. They are playing with our communities by rewarding their wealthy pals with huge tax breaks, subsidies and bad bank deals. On the other hand, the CTU and our allies are dead serious. While the state budget impasse continues, the elderly, toddlers, university students, K-12 students, the disabled, orphans and the indigent are all facing a crisis of epic proportions. Poverty in Illinois is on the rise and racial disparities in income are growing to levels not seen in more than 50 years. The time to act is now. We intend to use our considerable collective power to draw attention on April 1 to a vision that supports the conditions the people in our state need and deserve.

Why now?

Emanuel and Claypool are incapable of getting the state legislature to fix the school funding formula, restore social services or keep our universities afloat. We, however, can. Our movement of educators, families, students, professors, train conductors, nursing home workers, social service providers and community organizations is growing. Just like a coalition came together to power the elected school board bill to an overwhelming victory in the Illinois House of Representatives, we can mobilize against the Rahm-Rauner attacks on our communities to pass a fair tax that will properly fund programs and institutions that are important to working families.

Why a one-day job action?

If we must strike to settle our labor contract, that strike will last as long as necessary to win a fair contract. But our April 1 job action is to send a message—to Claypool, Rahm and Rauner—that we are fed up with their bad faith policies that shortchange our students and educators.

Is a one-day work action illegal?

The mayor, the governor and their cronies will say it is. The mayor attempted, however, to declare our strike in 2012 illegal even though we played by his rules. With Rauner appointees now controlling the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, they will pull out every trick in the book to stop us. The only sure thing is that when we take our destiny into our own hands, we have more control over the outcome. They cannot replace 28,000 educators. When we are united and build strong alliances, there is little they can do to stop us.

What are possible negative repercussions?

We hope the district understands that instead of fighting us, they can work with us to restore tens of millions of dollars to our classrooms by going after the toxic swaps, demanding restoration of the tax increment financing (TIF) surplus and fighting for progressive taxation in Illinois. Will they seek to harm us? We do not know. But that would not be wise, given that this is a one-day work action.
They may seek a court order to try to prevent or interfere with our job action. Depending on what action our House of Delegates approves, they might single out union leadership for retaliation. At the end of the day, if we make a compelling case to the public and are joined by tens of thousands of others in similar situations across the state, they will reconsider any punitive action.
Be prepared, however, for lots of scary rhetoric from the mayor and Claypool. They will try to cajole, threaten and frighten us. Our resolve and clarity of purpose are the strongest antidotes we have to any fear-mongering.

What happens to our insurance in a one-day job action?

It should not impact our insurance. Even if our coverage was disrupted for a day, we have the ability to get COBRA, and payments are not due for two months. Just like in 2012, there should not be any problems with our health insurance coverage.
(From Chicago Teachers Union's website:

From Chicago Teachers Union:

More than 100,000 workers in the state of Illinois are out of a contract and are bargaining directly with our adversaries—Governor Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, bankers and billionaires like Ken Griffin, who are calling for school closings, university closings, budget cuts, lower wages for workers and restrictions on collective bargaining.

Racial injustice fuels the prison industrial complex by sending poor Black and brown men and women to prison each day. Chronic disinvestment has caused poverty in the state to grow considerably. Law enforcement agencies are under federal scrutiny for the murder of unarmed people and the mentally ill. Child-care workers and low-income parents are under attack. Yet multimillion-dollar arenas, museums and millionaire condos are being built all around us.

Tax cuts for those with higher incomes, a flat-tax system, and corporate loopholes galore have put Illinois in this fiscal distress. In Chicago, the mayor refuses to renegotiate bad deals with the banks profiting off of our “broke on purpose” schools. Enough is enough!

On April 1, 2016, we are asking all concerned Chicago citizens to unite in a day of action by:

• Withholding your labor
• Withholding your dollars
• Boycotting the Magnificent Mile
• Protesting Governor Rauner, Mayor Emanuel and billionaire Ken Griffin
• Protesting banks such as Bank of America
• Engaging in nonviolent direct action protests
• Demanding progressive taxation
• Demanding the release of the TIF surplus


Join families, students, teachers, workers, and all those who thirst for justice.

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