Chicago’s public school teachers are going on strike.
The teacher’s union announced late Sunday that contract talks with the district failed over issues such as job security and benefits. Meanwhile Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the remaining issues could be resolved without disrupting the school year.
“This is not a strike that I wanted,” Emanuel told a news conference. “This is a strike of choice.”
It’s been 25 years since Chicago teachers have gone on strike. At that time, it lasted 19 days.
“We have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike,” Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Sunday night. “No CTU members will be inside of our schools Monday.”
However, both sides have said they hope to resolve the dispute.
As parents scramble to find something for their kids to do while school is not in session, more than 25,000 union members are to hit the picket lines.
To help Chicago families, school officials plan to monitor and feed students for about four hours at 144 schools. Oftentimes the only balanced meal students get all day is what’s served at school.
Teachers had been offered a four-year contract with raises of 2 percent each year, but the union said that is not acceptable. CTU has also said it’s concerned about merit raises, health benefits and new evaluations.
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Photo credit: Sarah Jane Rhee/Chicago Indymedia, Creative Commons