After an indicative ballot which showed 97% of Chicago teachers in favour of strike action, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is running a live ballot in schools this week.

Chicago teachers have been in the forefront of the struggle against education 'reform' since their . Although they pushed back on many of the worst proposals of the city government on that occasion, since then the policy of closing neighbourhood schools and replacing them with semi-privatised charters has been ramped up with parents and the CTU resisting and fighting back. In addition special education is being badly hit by cuts.

Now the CTU are on the verge of a new strike against continuing attacks to public education in the city. The union says that the Rahm administration is 'broke on purpose', since it does nothing about the $1.2 billion tax avoidance going on under its nose. Moreover it has rejected nearly every one of their demands to improve public education, including many which have no cost attached to them.

In a , the CTU says it is bargaining under five heads: 

  • Educators are professional experts and role models
  • The schools Chicago students deserve
  • Schools are anchors of the community
  • Students are human beings
  • Educators cannot achieve equity alone

Their statement is detailed and could be used as a template for negotiations globally, since it has children, education and social justice at its heart.

The union is going all out for a successful ballot this week, however it will be some time before a strike takes place as negotiations continue.