Chicago teachers on Friday approved the contract deal that ended an 11-day strike and includes pay raises, $35 million to enforce limits on class sizes, and a pledge to supply each school with a nurse and a social worker, the AP reports. The Chicago Teachers Union’s 25,000 members went on strike Oct. 17 following months of unsuccessful negotiations with the school district and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration. Teachers held marches and rallies across the city; the district kept school buildings open but canceled two weeks of classes. More than 300,000 students and their families were affected. Teachers said they were striking for "social justice," with the aim of increasing resources such as nurses and social workers for students and reducing class sizes.
Union leaders said the strike forced city officials to negotiate on issues they initially deemed out of bounds, including support for homeless students. Lightfoot, who took office this year, said the strike was unnecessary and dubbed the city's offer of a 16% raise for teachers over a five-year contract and other commitments on educators’ priorities "historic." Once the strike ended, Lightfoot said the entire city would benefit from the negotiated deal. "Our contract fight was about the larger movement to shift values and priorities in Chicago," says CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates. The contract now must be approved by the Chicago Board of Education, which is scheduled to meet Nov. 20. The mayor appoints all of the board’s members.
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