*

upload_article_image

Chicago strike means day off for some, emergency for others

Chicago parents are leaning on family, friends and community groups with teachers in the nation's third-largest school district on strike.

The strike based on a "social justice" agenda follows months of negotiations between the union and Chicago Public Schools that failed to resolve disputes over pay, benefits, class size and staffing.

Teachers say the walkout is about getting more resources and smaller class sizes for students, not about more money for them. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the district's finances are precarious and it can't afford all of teachers' demands.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and first lady Amy Eshleman pass out breakfast to Chicago Public Schools students at a contingency site, Gads Hill Center, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Striking Chicago teachers have returned to the picket lines for a second day as union and city bargainers try to hammer out a contract in the nation's third-largest school district. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

School buildings have remained open. But the strike is especially difficult for the city's most vulnerable families, who are dependent on jobs with little or no paid time off.

Churches and nonprofits have tried to step in.

Sybil Madison, the city's deputy mayor for education and human services, look on as Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters at a Chicago Public Schools contingency site, Gads Hill Center Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Striking Chicago teachers have returned to the picket lines for a second day as union and city bargainers try to hammer out a contract in the nation's third-largest school district. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Amy Eshleman , left, and Sybil Madison, center, the city's deputy mayor for education and human services, look on as Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters at a Chicago Public Schools contingency site, Gads Hill Center Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Striking Chicago teachers have returned to the picket lines for a second day as union and city bargainers try to hammer out a contract in the nation's third-largest school district. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and first lady Amy Eshleman pass out breakfast to Chicago Public Schools students at a contingency site, Gads Hill Center Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Striking Chicago teachers have returned to the picket lines for a second day as union and city bargainers try to hammer out a contract in the nation's third-largest school district. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot passes out breakfast to Chicago Public Schools students at a contingency site, Gads Hill Center, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Striking Chicago teachers have returned to the picket lines for a second day as union and city bargainers try to hammer out a contract in the nation's third-largest school district. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters after passing out breakfast to Chicago Public Schools students at Gads Hill CenterFriday, Oct. 18, 2019 in Chicago. Striking Chicago teachers have returned to the picket lines for a second day as union and city bargainers try to hammer out a contract in the nation's third-largest school district. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Thousands of teachers, teacher's union members, and supporters gathered near the Chicago Public School headquarters and march on the streets in downtown Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. The strike in the nation's third-largest school district came after the Chicago Teachers Union confirmed Wednesday night that its 25,000 members would not return to their classrooms. (Victor HilitskiChicago Sun-Times via AP)

Thousands of teachers, teacher's union members, and supporters gathered near the Chicago Public School headquarters and march on the streets in downtown Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. The strike in the nation's third-largest school district came after the Chicago Teachers Union confirmed Wednesday night that its 25,000 members would not return to their classrooms. (Victor HilitskiChicago Sun-Times via AP)

Thousands of teachers, teacher's union members, and supporters gathered near the Chicago Public School headquarters and march on the streets in downtown Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. Striking teachers marched in picket lines outside hundreds of Chicago schools on Thursday after their union and city officials failed to reach a contract deal in the nation's third-largest school district. (Victor HilitskiChicago Sun-Times via AP)