CTU demands more janitors to clean up schools

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Teachers Union is demanding more janitors clean what they say are filthy conditions in schools.

Teachers, parents and some community leaders blame Mayor Emanuel for poor leadership, and say they need more from CPS to get the schools cleaned.

The CTU dressed a few people in hazmat-type suits and tried to get into Kenwood Academy. But, they were turned away.  Kenwood teachers say they have problems with trash and rodents. They say the privatization of janitors has led to these nasty conditions.  Last fall, an elementary school had to shut down for a few days for a deep cleaning because of a rodent problem.  That led to a showdown with parents at Mollison School, who wanted to see how clean the school actually was, which led to a shoving match just outside the doors.

The CTU says it needs at least 500 more janitors to be hired to keep the schools clean. The union also wants the right to collectively bargain over issues like cleanliness.

The CPS CEO sent a letter to principals.

It says in part, "Earlier this year, we conducted inspections at many of our schools and in some cases found conditions that were completely unacceptable. Following those inspections, we have been working to address all of the identified issues and institute procedures to ensure conditions remain strong."

That includes sending 200 janitors to clean the schools over the summer, and keeping 100 of them on staff.