On Tuesday, June 26th CPS members of SEIU Local 73 stood shoulder to should with our brothers and sisters with the Chicago Teachers Union to welcome the new School Board and remind them that our fight for sustainable schools has just gotten started.
SECA and Local 73 member Jennipher Buckner Wheeler spoke to the press about the demanding nature of her job and how she hopes to improve conditions for all workers at CPS.
My job as a SECA requires my 100% undivided attention on my special education students but I can’t always do that because our schools are dangerously understaffed and under-resourced. There are days I have to be a classroom substitute, custodian, and crossing guard all at once and it keeps me away from the students who need my attention the most. Schools are successful when each employee can focus on our individual responsibility to our students whether it’s being a SECA, a custodian, a bus aide, security officer or a teacher. We all love our jobs but we need the board to provide us with the resources to carry them out properly. – Jennipher Buckner Wheeler, SECA.
Joined by CTU President, Jesse Sharkey, CPS counselors, and former CPS students, our Executive Vice President stressed the urgency of getting our members a fair contract no matter who sits on the board.
We’ve had enough. After almost 1 year of negotiations, CPS management has not responded in a serious way to any of our proposals aimed at making sure that Chicago Public Schools are safe, clean, and provide a quality education to students especially those in special education. CPS is ignoring proposals to increase pay, reward longevity, and restore paid benefit time (banked and accrued) that was taken in previous contracts to make CPS a better place to work. Enough is enough! SEIU Local 73 workers are currently voting in droves to authorize a strike if CPS management does not bargain a fair contract at the negotiating table. We are prepared to do whatever necessary to provide our students with the best schools possible no matter who sits on the board. – Science Meles, SEIU Local 73 Executive Vice President.
Local 73 members are currently in mediated bargaining and votes to authorize the bargaining committee to call a strike are ongoing. We prepared to fight as hard as we need to get the best contract we can. Stay tuned for more updates.