As city and union tussle over strike makeup days, Chicagoans offer scheduling suggestions

As Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey squabble over whether school days lost to the teacher strike are made up, Chicagoans are offering up advice.

The issue of makeup days is the only thing separating the union’s 30,000 members from returning to their jobs, and the city school district’s 300,000 students from returning to their classes.

The union wants the time made up. Lightfoot dug in on Wednesday night saying, “I’m not compensating them for days they were on strike,” but may have softened Thursday, a key ally told the Chicago Sun-Times.

It would be an unusual issue to hold the line on. Makeup time is generally part of strike resolutions, and an Illinois union official said almost all strike days in state history have been made up. Plus, state law requires at least some of the days to be made up if the district wants to maintain its state funding, virtually handing a compromise to the city and union.

But whatever is happening behind closed doors, the conversation out in the open Wednesday night and this morning suggests that any outcome could easily find public support — and, in fact, that the public has ideas for what days to add back to the calendar.

Here are some of the many conversations we’ve seen on social media about the prospect of makeup days.

The union does not need to hold another vote to approve a deal on makeup days, so an agreement struck in negotiations today would clear the way for schools to reopen as soon as Friday — when city officials have said teachers would lose their health insurance coverage if they are not back at work.