Chicago Teachers Union
Winning a historic strike for Chicago’s educators
The Chicago Teachers Union is a historic institution of educators dedicated to advancing and promoting quality public education, improving teaching and learning conditions, and protecting members’ rights. CTU called on RMC in their time of greatest need - during their historic strike of October 2019. The strike lasted a full 14 days, from October 17 to October 31st, 2019, during which time RMC offered communications, creative, and video support, helping CTU’s leadership navigate an emotional and taxing process. CTU's members had an uphill battle, but the city of Chicago was behind them. Along the way, celebrity friends joined the fight, CTU was featured on nearly every national media outlet, and most importantly - the educators won. The results speak for themselves - CTU negotiated a historic and unprecedented contract, securing desperately needed funding for their teachers and students.
As part of our strike strategy, RMC produced a series of videos highlighting and humanizing the plight of CTU’s teachers. These videos were emotional, relatable, and shareable - and as a result they were viewed over a million times and helped to drive the national narrative about the strike.
As the strike progressed, CTU called on some celebrity friends to help get the word out about the strike and to energize CTU’s striking members when they needed it most. Chance The Rapper wore a CTU sweatshirt on SNL and spoke about them in his opening monologue. Other celebrities and leaders including Bernie Sanders, Matt Damon, John Cusack, Elizabeth Warren, and Susan Sarandon, rallied with CTU along the way.
There was not one major news outlet that didn’t cover the CTU strike. We worked the backchannels to ensure that CTU’s voice was represented fairly in the national media, even in outlets that would not normally be favorable to unions. Aside from the national press, we were able to secure feature stories, such as the profile of CTU’s Vice President Stacy Davis-Gates in Essence.
A BIG Win
At the end of the day, there was only one result we were looking for - a BIG WIN for CTU’s members. After fourteen days on the picketlines, CTU came to a historic deal with Mayor Lightfoot, winning the resources they had requested for homeless students, hard caps on class sizes for the first time, and a nurse and counselor in every school.