Lightfoot spars with CTU over paid parental leave


CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot is on a spending spree, one that outpaces her fundraising.

Finance record show Lightfoot spent about $3 million from October through December, while only raising $1.5 million. Chicago’s mayor said she’s not worried about her burn rate.

“It’s campaign season. We’re about 40 days out from an election, of course we’re spending money,” Lightfoot said. “We’re spending money to be on TV. We’re spending money in our field operation. We’re spending money on voter engagement. I’m not one who thinks that the thing to do is continue to hoard money.”

As Lightfoot continues to fight for her political future, the Chicago Teachers Union is picking a bone with her.

The CTU accused Lightfoot of reversing on a pledge to extend paid parental leave up to 12 weeks. Under new city policy, most city workers get 12 weeks of paid parental leave, while CTU members only get two weeks.

“In order to spend time with my newborn daughter I basically used up all my paid sick days,” said Kassandra Tsitsopoulous, a CTU member. “Now I worry that if I get sick, I won’t have the days I need to stay home.”

In a letter to CTU President Stacy Davis Gates Wednesday, Lightfoot noted the matter needs to be collectively bargained.

“I don’t sit in and dictate local policy at the sister agencies,” Lightfoot said. “Just as we did as a city, they’ve got to sit at the collective bargaining table and work it out. That’s the way the process works.”

Lightfoot further urged CTU leadership to take up the matter with Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez.

Early voting for the mayor’s election starts next Thursday, Jan. 26, at Chicago’s Board of Election’s supersite at 191 North Clark Street, while voting in the general election will begin on Feb. 28.

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