Around 26,000 teachers and support workers in Chicago, US, walked out this Monday for the first time in 25 years.
They are fighting attempts by Chicago’s Democrat mayor Rahm Emanuel to tear up their contracts and smash union organisation.
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) called the strike. CTU members have been working without a contract since June. A huge 98 percent of teachers backed strikes over the attacks in a ballot.
Susah Hickey has worked as a school social worker for 18 years. “Chicago is a union town,” she said. “The assault on unions has been horrible.”
Middle school teacher Brandon Johnson said that the mayor wanted “education on the cheap.” He added, “For far too long we’ve been disrespected and belittled”.
The strike is highly political. Teachers are resisting a new evaluation system that would make it easier for bosses to sack them.
They are also protesting about the lack of resources that wrecks children’s education. Hundreds of strikers marched through downtown Chicago during Monday’s strike.
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