Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been studying lots of numbers as she prepares Chicago’s budget, and her first big test may come from the city’s teachers this week.
Chicago Teachers Union members begin casting ballots on Tuesday on whether or not to authorize a strike. The union has rejected an offer for a 16% pay raise over five years and is also asking for more staff such as nurses, librarians, social workers and special education teachers after years of cuts. If three-fourths of members vote yes, the union must give the Chicago Board of Education a 10-day notice, meaning Oct. 7 would be the first day a walkout could start.
“There’s a lot of interest in how it’s being handled, and if she can negotiate to avoid a strike,” Howard Cure, managing director of municipal bond research at Evercore Wealth Management in New York, said regarding the mayor and the talks. It’s “the first test as far as fiscal issues that investors would be concerned about.”