Chicago’s teachers aren’t fighting just for their own wages and benefits. They’re on strike for better schools for students, too. One of the Chicago Teachers Union’s (CTU) demands is to install air conditioning in schools, particularly poorer ones that may lack these amenities.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel (whose net worth is estimated at $14 million) downplayed these teacher concerns on behalf of poor children. “It’s 71 degrees outside,” he said. “You don’t go on strike for air conditioning.”
But lest the mayor forget, seasons change. Earlier, in July, there was a heat wave so severe that school officials decided to cancel classes at 21 schools one Friday that were serving summer school students. The reason why? They lacked air conditioning. The heat wave this summer was so intense that there were actually a number of deaths attributed to it in the city.
CTU is fighting for everyone in the city — teachers, students, parents. Mayor Emanuel may feel comfortable with the fact that some of his city’s schools without air conditioning can get so hot that officials canceled school to protect the health of their students, but the CTU isn’t.
If the strike ends up getting air conditioning installed in these boiling schools, the kids will be the first ones to benefit as a result.