Striking teachers march in Chicago ahead of mayor’s budget speech

MCCAIG/iStock(CHICAGO) -- Teachers in the nation's third-largest public school system and their supporters are taking to the streets in Chicago as a week-long strike continues.

All told, thousands are expected to march on Wednesday, with several different streams of protesters leading to City Hall.

Wednesday marks the seventh day of the strike and the fifth day of missed classes.

The rallies have forced street closures and more police are being deployed to the area, the Chicago Police Department spokesperson tweeted.

Teachers and their unions are battling with Chicago leaders, including mayor Lori Lightfoot, on several fronts, primarily pay and benefits, smaller class sizes and providing more support staff.

Wednesday's march to City Hall began before Lightfoot gave her 2020 budget address.

The Chicago Teachers Union is seeking 15 percent raises over three years in addition solutions for staffing concerns regarding substitute teachers, librarians, school nurses and social workers.

The strike has gained national attention, with several Democratic presidential candidates weighing in. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, previously a teacher, went to Chicago to rally with protesting teachers on Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders visited the union before the strike officially launched and former Vice President Joe Biden applauded the teachers' "courage" over the weekend.

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