Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will join public school teachers on the picket line in Chicago on Tuesday, where she will be joined by the head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) as they support the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).
Local news affiliate NBC 5 reported Monday that Warren will appear at an elementary school on the city’s West Side on Tuesday alongside AFT President Randi Weingarten before heading to Iowa for multiple campaign stops.
Chicago’s teachers say a lack of funding for school services has resulted in many schools without full-time nurses or counselors and insufficient bilingual staffers to assist with the city’s large Hispanic population. They are also asking for smaller class sizes, higher pay and better school funding.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) has pledged expedient negotiations with the union but has warned that there is not enough money in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) budget to meet the union’s demands, according to CNN.
“These negotiations must move more swiftly so that we can get students back into school as fast as possible,” Lightfoot said. “Our team has been turning around thoughtful counteroffers at a rapid pace. We are hopeful that CTU will meet that pace … so we can bring this process to a fair and responsible end.”
“CPS is not flush with cash,” she added, according to CNN. “The fact is there is no more money. Period.”
Multiple 2020 candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, have indicated their support for the striking teachers, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared at a rally hosted by the union last year and has pushed a plan for all public school teachers in the country to have their pay raised to $60,000 per year.