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As union sets strike vote date, Lightfoot strikes confident tone

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks Sept. 5, 2019, during a press conference with Phoenix Military Academy Principal Ferdinand Wipachit and students.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks Sept. 5, 2019, during a press conference with Phoenix Military Academy Principal Ferdinand Wipachit and students.
Yana Kunichoff / Chalkbeat

In her first public remarks since the teachers union announced a strike vote date, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters at a Thursday morning press conference that she remained confident of avoiding a looming teachers strike.

“We put a very generous offer on the table,” Lightfoot said. “Let’s get a deal done.”

The representative body of the Chicago Teachers Union voted unanimously Wednesday night to hold a strike authorization vote on Sept. 26. If three-quarters of the union’s members agrees to authorize a strike, teachers could walk out by Oct. 7.

Staffing remains a key sticking point. In its latest offer, the city proposed to hire in-house nurses and some other support staff.

Lightfoot noted that even if the district adds nursing positions, the jobs are difficult to fill.

“We need you to partner with us to be able to fill open positions,” Lightfoot said, addressing the union.

The union has said it is unlikely to accept the offer, and reiterated demands to include any new jobs for social workers, special education case managers and nurses included in the contract.

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