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Ear to the Ground

Confrontation Between Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Teachers Union Escalates

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Posted on Sep 16, 2012
AP/Sitthixay Ditthavong

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual said late Sunday that he will see the city’s striking union teachers in court soon after a deal to end the weeklong strike fell through.

Emanuel’s office released a statement Sunday after teachers rejected the latest proposal. It read in part:

I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union. This was a strike of choice and is now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children. Every day our kids are kept out of school is one more day we fail in our mission: to ensure that every child in every community has an education that matches their potential.

I have instructed the City’s Corporation Counsel to work with the General Counsel of Chicago Public Schools to file an injunction in circuit court to immediately end this strike and get our children back in the classroom. This continued action by union leadership is illegal on two grounds – it is over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children.

Union President Karen Lewis said delegates rejected the latest deal in part because they were simply “not happy with” it. She added: “This is not a good deal by any stretch of the imagination, not (compared) to what our members are (used) to having.”

The Chicago Tribune:

Delegates had met with Lewis for nearly three hours to review the tentative contract that had been brokered after months of negotiation, but ultimately extended the strike instead.

...Emanuel called upon CPS officials “to explore every action possible” to return students to school. He has maintained for over a week that the two major sticking points in negotiations — evaluations and the ability to recall teachers who have been laid off — are not legal grounds for a work stoppage.

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As a result of Sunday’s action, 350,000 students will be locked out of the city’s public schools for at least the next couple of days as the strike enters its second week.

This is the first time Chicago teachers have gone on strike in a quarter of a century. The district is the third largest in the country.

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

 

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