Payton Teachers Out in Force on First Day of Strike That Could Last Until Weekend



Payton teachers brought many signs — and even a few musical instruments — to their picket line. 

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By Will Foster ’20

Payton teachers arrived in front of school in the faint light of early dawn Thursday, settling in for hours of picketing as the first day of the citywide Chicago Teachers Union walkout began.

Even as union leaders returned to the bargaining table with CPS leadership, it appeared teachers across Chicago might be back to the picket lines tomorrow. In her morning briefing, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that unless something changed later in the day, school would be cancelled Friday as well. “Yeah, until we get notification from CTU that they are intending to come back to the classroom,” she said, “school is cancelled for the duration.”

In late morning, the CTU released a statement suggesting negotiations had made little progress, accusing Lightfoot of “refusing to put key provisions meant to help Chicago’s students succeed into writing.” But in an early afternoon break from negotiations at Malcolm X College, while CTU members marched in a downtown rally, union President Jesse Sharkey said bargaining had been productive, including on class size. Sharkey, however, said it was “very unlikely” a deal would be reached before Friday. “We’re going to work for the rest of the day,” he said, but likely not into the night.

For Payton students stuck at home, at least, there was relief that their CPS Google accounts remained accessible Thursday. A rumor the day before that student emails and documents, like their teachers’, would be inaccessible during the strike had caused a minor panic, with many students frantically downloading their college application essays and other files.


Payton teachers chant in front of school Thursday morning.

All photos courtesy of former Paw Print editor-in-chief Matthew Mata

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