CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Public Schools will be closed again on Wednesday as a teachers’ strike presses on for what will be fifth school day – and some parents are getting fed up with the battle between both sides.
Some parents are even losing money by missing work to care for their kids. CBS 2’s Steven Graves found a mother of five who has run out of options.
For Denisia Bryant, weaving through the streets of downtown Chicago during the morning rush is the new normal.
“Four, five hours minimum,” she said. “That’s the only way to make money. Real money.”
We caught up with Bryant after her Lyft shift, where she trades the office chair for the driver’s seat.
“It’s hard, like, it makes it hard,” Bryant said.
Bryant caught with other parents in limbo with the teachers’ strike. She has had to take days off from her sales job to watch her kids in the afternoon, so in the morning she drives for Lyft.
“We’ve got to call off time,” Bryant said. “We’re losing money. I’m losing money.”
After her morning pickups, Bryant has to rush 40 minutes home to get there by noon. That is where she relieves her sister, whom she pays for babysitting.
“You know, his is one of the reasons why parents like me are going to leave the city, you know,” she said. “We’re not going to put up with this. We don’t need to. We’re too hardworking to have to put up with worrying about our kids.”
Bryant wonders what is really happening with negotiations between the CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union, and wonders if children are really the top priority.
“There has to be another way to really address your concerns in a timely fashion,” she said.
But until the strike comes to an end, Bryant will keep driving.
“I’m all means necessary. My kids won’t go without, because I will find a way to make money,” she said. “I don’t stay stagnant.”
But she said she hopes the wheels get turning on some positive progress at the bargaining table, as it seems like there’s no end in sight.
The teachers’ strike began on Thursday. Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said Monday night that Mayor Lori Lightfoot “dashed our hopes for a quick settlement” by sending the Chicago Teachers Union a letter urging teachers to go back to work during negotiations.
The CTU apparently does not expect an agreement on Wednesday either – given that the union is asking teachers and supporters across the country to wear red on Thursday in solidarity.
Some other Chicago teachers’ strikes have lasted for a while. In 2012, a strike lasted for seven school days, and in 1987, a strike lasted for a record-setting 19 school days.