Thousands Expected to March in Loop Ahead of Lightfoot Budget Address

on Oct23
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2019-10-23 00:50:29

Senator Elizabeth Warren kicked off another day of picketing by Chicago teachers as their strike continues, but the union has a much grander plan for a statement on Wednesday as Mayor Lori Lightfoot prepares to make one of the most important speeches of her tenure.

Thousands of teachers and members of other unions are planning to march toward City Hall on Wednesday as Mayor Lightfoot prepares to deliver her first city budget address. A “massive rally” is being called for by union organizers after the march.

In a press release Tuesday night, the city announced that street closures are expected on a rolling basis beginning early Wednesday morning. Randolph, Washington, Clark, LaSalle, Franklin, and Wacker Drive are all expected to experience closures during the march and rally. 

Commuters are advised to take public transportation if they plan on travelling to the Loop on Wednesday. 

Teachers Continue Strike for 4th Day

[CHI] Teachers Continue Strike for 4th Day

According to the union, there are four different meet-up spots on the edge of the Loop where teachers and marchers are asked to congregate, then the four groups will march to City Hall, where Lightfoot is expected to address the City Council at 10 a.m.

“The city is not done hearing us yet,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said. “Together, we’re going to win.”

Lightfoot will deliver her budget address on Wednesday, and among the topics she’ll discuss are proposals to help fill an $838 million budget gap. The speech is expected to include details on not only how the city is planning to close that gap, but also details on potential tax increases that city residents could face.

With that as the backdrop, negotiations are still ongoing between the two sides in the labor standoff, which will cancel its fifth day of classes on Wednesday. Lightfoot and the city have said they are offering more and more each day to the union in an effort to end the strike, but to no avail just yet.

“There has to be a commitment and a will and a sense of urgency on all sides. That’s what’s going to make a difference,” Lightfoot said.

The city says its latest proposals add up to an additional $500 million more in spending for teachers and their classrooms over the next five years.

Union officials say there was a “good conversation” between the sides on Tuesday, but say they have not landed on “just terms” in those negotiations.

“We understand that we’re not going to solve all problems, but we need to see a substantial down payment and then a plan to address class sizes and other issues,” CTU Chief of Staff Jennifer Johnson said.

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