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US: Chicago teachers strike ends after 11 days without school

Chicago, Illinois – Chicago Public School teachers and students will return to school on Friday after educators reached a contract deal with the United States’s third-largest school district, ending a strike that began on October 17 and cancelled 11 days of school, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday.

The deal brings an end to the longest strike since 1987, when teachers refused to work for 19 days.

“The teachers will be back in class; the students will be back in class tomorrow,” Lightfoot said at City Hall Thursday after a two-hour meeting with Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Jesse Sharkey.

The CTU reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday, but refused to end the strike until Chicago Public Schools (CPS) agreed to make up for the 11 school days lost to the strike. Lightfoot compromised on Thursday, agreeing to give five makeup days at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The CTU must still hold a vote with rank-and-file members to fully approve of the deal, which is expected to pass.

“In the interests of our students and our parents who have been suffering, it was important to me to make sure that we got our kids back in class,” Lightfoot said. “Enough is enough. And so in the spirit of compromise, we agreed. It was a hard-fought discussion. It took us a long time to get there, but I think this is the right thing.”

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