Chicago Public School (CPS) workers of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 have been bargaining with the City of Chicago for improvements to their working conditions and their schools. The Chicago Democratic Socialists of America and Chicago Jobs with Justice stand with CTU and SEIU Local 73 in their fight for:
Full staffing of social workers, nurses, counselors, and special education aides
Enforceable small class sizes
Clean and safe schools by ending the private contracting of school services to outside companies
Sanctuary for immigrant students and families
The potential impending strike promises to be one of the largest in the modern history of Chicago. With CTU and SEIU 73 focused on organizing their membership, one area of vital support that we can provide is coordinating efforts to feed students who will be denied the meals they would normally get in school for the duration of the strike. These efforts help build community support for the striking workers and demonstrate to City Hall that all Chicagoans are united in this fight. Similar Bread for Ed efforts across the country, including in the DSA chapters of Oakland and Los Angeles, have proved a vital form of support and good publicity for those strikes. We hope to accomplish something similar here.
Student meals will be a heavy lift but are absolutely necessary because so many children rely on their school lunch for their meals and because the city will likely use the lack of food for students as a cudgel against teachers and staff to break the strike. In addition, many support staff, who are currently making poverty wages, often less than $20,000 a year, are making a significant sacrifice to win the schools our students need during this strike, and it will be important to make sure strikers don’t go hungry. Despite this we are hoping through partnerships with neighborhood organizations, aldermanic offices, churches, and local restaurants we can alleviate these problem. The places where this need is most critically felt is on the south and west sides of Chicago.
We will also be providing meals at actions and rallies. Meals at direct actions will provide teachers and staff with the vital energy they need to keep the strike going until their demands are met. This can be met easily by working with food trucks to either purchase food ahead of time or donate their food