Chicago teacher strike is over, students to return to school

Chicago Public School students will head back to school Wednesday, after the union’s House of Delegates decided to end the seven-day strike.

About 800 delegates were discussing the tentative contract Tuesday afternoon, when on a voice vote, they decided to return to the classroom. Parents across the city were relieved as the city’s first strike in 25 years meant more than 350,000 students were not in school. Their teachers had been picketing in front of schools, chanting at rallies and clogging parts of downtown with their sea of red T-shirts.

The strike brought national attention to the learning environment in some of Chicago's poorest schools and many wondered if it would help  revitalize the American labor movement.

Union leaders had already reached a tentative agreement with CPS, but on Monday the delegates decided to keep striking, saying they needed more time to go through the agreement.

This prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to have city attorneys ask a judge to force the teachers back to work. It looked like the already contentious battle was going to heat up again.

Then came Tuesday’s vote to suspend the strike. Now the contract will go before all the teachers for a vote.

The contract offer gives teachers a 17.6 percent raise over the next four years, it also calls for stricter job evaluations and creates a re-hire pool for some laid-off teachers.

There are more challenges ahead for Emanuel, CPS and CTU. Reports say 100 school closings are expected to come down the pipe in the next couple of years.

 

For ongoing strike coverage, visit The Chicago Reporter’s sister publication, Catalyst Chicago, at www.catalyst-chicago.org or follow its Twitter feed here.

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