Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Wirepoints: CTU strike creates 'a negative spiral' that hurts teachers, police and fire departments


By Glenn Minnis | Oct 19, 2019

Thousands of Chicago Public Schools employees walked out this week on their third strike in the past seven years.

No matter how things shake out with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike, Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski does not see how taxpayers can come out on the winning side.

“It’s very concerning to know that no matter how this ends there’s going to be much more pension debt and higher operation cost that the struggling taxpayer is going to have to finance,” Dabrowki told Chicago City Wire. “The city is in a financial mess and they have very little room to operate. Regardless of which side wins the strike, the hole is going to be even bigger.”

For a second straight day, more than 26,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers and another 8,000 staffers walked the picket line on Friday after walking off the job earlier in the week to mark the third time in the last seven years CPS has engaged in a work stoppage.

Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski

“Taxpayers are already suffering under Rahm’s (former Mayor Emanuel) record tax hikes and we're paying more for those now,” Dabrowski said. “Chicago’s population is shrinking, home values have stagnated and are even down if you take inflation into account. This is a horrible time to strike.”

In fact, Dabrowski argues that none of what’s now happening makes much sense when you consider the high stakes.

“This new contract will make it even worse for teachers, policemen and firemen because it’s pushing the city more into insolvency,” he said. “The reality is, if the city goes bankrupt it’s going to be worse for everyone. (Current Mayor Lori) Lightfoot should be admitting the city has no money and what they’re asking for will only make the city more insolvent.”

Instead, at one point, Lightfoot has boasted about the offer she made to union leaders being the “most lucrative package ever,” leaving Dabrowski even more taken aback.  

“Lightfoot should make the case the city is shrinking, the school district is shrinking and if we keep making living in Chicago more expensive, fewer people will live there and that means the need for fewer teachers, fewer policemen and fewer firemen. It’s a negative spiral.”

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