On the primary day of a teachers strike that would outline her tenure, Mayor Lori Lightfoot entered a Lawndale neighborhood middle by way of a again door to keep away from chanting strikers and sought refuge in a classroom.
As among the younger kids fidgeted or yawned whereas others listened intently, the mayor learn aloud a e book she beloved to learn to her personal daughter: “A Unhealthy Case of the Stripes.”
“So the ethical of the story is, be true to your self. Do what you need. Don’t fear about whether or not or not folks such as you,” the mayor advised the youngsters.
Lightfoot can solely hope that the ethical of David Shannon’s story a couple of lady who loves lima beans, however by no means eats them due to peer stress applies to the disaster she now confronts.
A Chicago Lecturers Union that was amongst Toni Preckwinkle’s strongest supporters and marketing campaign donors has adopted by way of on its menace of a strike that has appeared pre-ordained because the day Lightfoot swept all town’s 50 wards.
Lightfoot mentioned she “can’t speculate” on whether or not or not Preckwinkle would have confronted the same destiny.
However she all however acknowledged that the CTU was sure and decided to hit the picket traces on her watch although, “We might have had this deal on the finish of August.”
“In case you actually need to keep away from a strike, you…ramp up the bargaining days. You keep at it evening and day. You speak about the primary points. You really give counter-proposals and never simply reject what’s on the desk. There’s an actual back-and-forth…We noticed a little bit little bit of that within the waning days earlier than the strike began. Nevertheless it definitely wasn’t there early on,” she mentioned.
“That’s the…sense of urgency [needed] to get this deal achieved…There’s a way of urgency, definitely on our half…However, it takes two to tango.”
That “sense of urgency” was not evident on Day One of many strike.
Sources mentioned the 2 sides met for a number of hours and broke for a CTU rally. The mayor’s annoyed forces had been additionally advised that CTU president Jesse Sharkey had a dinner to attend and that union officers had a convention this weekend.
Lightfoot was requested whether or not she may need made a tactical mistake by sweetening her pay elevate supply — to 16 p.c over 5 years — so early within the negotiations.
“We’re not transferring any additional on cash as a result of we will’t…CPS is simply on the opposite facet of a fairly vital disaster. And we don’t have limitless sources,” she mentioned.
A Metropolis Corridor supply aware of the negotiations questioned what the union stands to realize from a strike given Lightfoot’s steely resolve.
“She’s not transferring on cash or the longer day. What else can she do — conform to codify the verbal guarantees she’s made on staffing? All they stand to realize is a bit of paper with none new concessions,” the supply mentioned.
The timing of the strike couldn’t be worse for the mayor.
On Wednesday, she’s going to spell out what taxes she plans to boost and companies she plans to chop to erase an $838 million shortfall.
Her potential to keep away from elevating property taxes greater than doubled by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel relies on how her bold agenda fares within the Illinois Normal Meeting’s fall veto session.
Lightfoot’s heavy-lift requests for a graduated actual property switch tax and a on line casino playing repair — both by way of city-state possession of a Chicago on line casino or a revised tax construction —seem like going through lengthy odds amid a blockbuster corruption scandal that has unfold from Chicago and the south suburbs to Springfield.
That’s significantly true after a blindsided Gov. J.B. Pritzker needed to examine within the Chicago Solar-Instances.
“It’s just like the third or fourth time,” that’s occurred, one insider mentioned.
Early on, Lightfoot floated a plan to have the state take over town’s $30 billion pension legal responsibility that Pritzker predictably shot down.
The governor has since solid forward with a consolidation plan for suburban police and fireplace pension funds, however not Chicago.
On Thursday, Lightfoot was requested whether or not her political honeymoon was now over.
“I’ve personally gotten a variety of help from random people who I don’t know…through electronic mail. I’m getting textual content messages…I’m listening to lots from lecturers and help employees that they perceive that we respect them, that we put a superb deal on the desk, and that we must always get a deal achieved. So I really feel superb about the place we’re,” she mentioned.
“After all, nobody needs a strike. I’d be silly to say it’s wonderful. We have to get this deal achieved.”
The longer the strike goes, the extra working mother and father will likely be inconvenienced. The extra their kids will endure. And the extra political blame will likely be directed at Lightfoot. The buck stops at her door.
“I don’t see it that method and I don’t have a look at it that method. This isn’t about politics for me,” she mentioned.