CHICAGO - A group of Chicago parents have filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Chicago Teachers Union, calling this week's school closures an "illegal strike," demanding that teachers return to school for in-person learning.
The complaint was filed by the attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center, along with several parents with children in Chicago Public Schools.
Thousands of students were unable to go to school starting Wednesday. Since then, Chicago Public Schools has canceled classes for all CPS students.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked CTU leadership to come to the bargaining table Thursday after talks failed Wednesday night. It’s unclear where those negotiations stand right now or how much progress has been made between CPS leaders and CTU officials.
Liberty Justice Center calls the strike illegal under Illinois law, and claims it violates the union's own contract.
"CTU’s resolution calling members to not show up for work in-person is a strike regardless of what CTU calls it and violates both the collective bargaining agreement with CPS and Illinois law," said Jeffrey Schwab, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. "CTU cannot unilaterally decide what actions should be taken to keep public schools safe, completely silencing parents’ input about what is best for the health, safety, and well-being of their children."
Teachers are calling for added safety measures in their classrooms, while the city argues that they've put the necessary COVID-19 protocols in place.
"Throughout this entire pandemic, our kids have paid a tremendous price for adults’ mistakes and miscalculations, and now the teachers’ union has hastily and recklessly put them on their political roller coaster again," said Laurel Golden, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit and a CPS parent. "The science is clear, and so is the desire of parents: Our kids need and deserve to be in school. This illegal strike must be ended immediately, and we must get kids back into the classroom."