On January 8, Chicago Public School support staff led actions at schools across Chicago to demand a fair contract. Through their union SEIU Local 73, workers rallied and walked into work together demanding a contract that creates clean, safe, and supported schools. Educators with the Chicago Teachers Union joined support staff in solidarity with their fight.
“We work with our students because we love them, but we also have families at home that we need to take care of. Some of us don’t have money to get our medicine when we get paid. We just want CPS to do the right thing and give us our raises,” said Darlene Winston, Special Education Classroom Assistant at Hanson Park Elementary School and SEIU Local 73 Union Steward.
SEIU Local 73 has been in contract negotiations with the District since May 2023. On December 14, CPS support staff delivered a petition for a fair contract with over 4,000 signatures to the Board of Education. Support staff demand:
- Provide student services by respecting staff’s job duties
- Fair pay with COLA and longevity increases
- Equitable pay over school breaks
- Job security with respect for seniority and due process
- Clean and safe schools
- City wide orientations and trainings
“I am 32 years strong with CPS and looking forward to retirement. But because of our low wages, it’s hard to consider retirement. We hope that we get the raise that we’ve earned. We do this work with a passion for our students and our families. Let’s get what we deserve,” said Pablo Laboy, Special Education Classroom Assistant at Hanson Park Elementary School.
SEIU Local 73 represents 11,000 Special Education Classroom Assistants, Bus Aides, Security Officers, Crossing Guards, Custodians, and Parent-Workers.