Threat of strike looms over start of Chicago school year

Threat of strike looms over start of Chicago school year

Threat of strike looms over start of Chicago school year

Both parties have been negotiating for two years, and the union said it is willing to strike if the city does not drop clauses that would mean a drop in take-home pay for teachers.

Chicago Teachers Union members will vote September 21-23 to authorize a strike, union officials said Wednesday evening after delegates met.

The strike vote was set after another bargaining session between the union and city Wednesday failed to net a labor contract.

They say they called for a second vote to re-mobilize members, and avoid any legal efforts by the city or state to halt a possible strike.

Check back for details. On Monday, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said the two sides in the teacher contract talks "are at the table every day", the Chicago Tribune reports.

Threat of strike looms over start of Chicago school year
Threat of strike looms over start of Chicago school year

Union members last spring approved a strike authorization. While the district is offering a 13-percent pay raise over the life of the contract, the catch is they want teachers to contribute more for health care and, the biggest sticking point, 7 percent of their pension.

"We want to make sure that all of our Is are dotted and our Ts are crossed, that's number one", CTU President Karen Lewis told reporters after the delegates met.

A teacher delegate from the Nettlehorst School, Michelle Gunderson, said she has 27 students in her classroom.

CPS is already experiencing massive financial problems. The district's $5.4 billion budget relies on increased property taxes, borrowing and $215 million in state money contingent on a statewide pension overhaul. A stop-gap spending plan allowing schools to open on time expires in January.

The last major walkout was in 2012, during former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's first term as Chicago mayor. Teachers, who received wide support from parents, were able to soften a new evaluation process and win some job protections.

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