Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The Chicago teachers strike ended Thursday after 11 days with a tentative agreement between the teachers union and the city, leaders announced.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that as part of the deal, Chicago Public Schools will make up five of the 11 days of schools missed during strike. The agreement will put some 300,000 students back in school Friday.
"In the interest of our students and our parents who have been suffering, it was important today to make sure that we got our kids back in class," Lightfoot said. "In the spirit of compromise, we agreed. It was a hard-fought discussion."
The announcement came after Wednesday night's vote in which the CTU and Chicago Public Schools agreed on a tentative contract agreement.
Jesse Sharkey, CTU president, said Wednesday that the union is willing to go back to work as soon as Lightfoot agrees to the teachers' demands.
"Our delegates told us, in no uncertain terms, they are not going back to work unless there is a provision made for making up the instructional days that have been lost over the past 10 days," he said. "Our members want to return to work. Everyone was clear about that."
He said those instructional days are important as students need to take certain benchmark tests.
Lightfoot called the agreement a "historic deal by any measure" as they acquiesced to many of the union's demands because both the teachers and students "deserve nothing less."
The deal the union agreed to includes the addition of a nurse and social worker at every school as well as an assortment of other staff such as special education case managers and homeless coordinators. It also includes $35 million to reduce class sizes and a 16 percent salary increase over the next five years.
Lightfoot called it the "most generous deal" Chicago Public Schools has ever offered the CTU and accused the union of moving "the goalposts" as it never mentioned during the course of negotiations the issue of recouping instructional days lost due to the strike.