Chicago teachers on strike after talks fail
September 9, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The Chicago Teachers Union says its members will be on strike Monday for the first time in 25 years.
The union says contract talks with the district failed late Sunday night over issues including wages, benefits and job security.
More than 26,000 teachers and support staff are expected to hit the picket lines at 6:30 AM Monday September 10, 2012, while the school district and parents make plans for keeping students safe and occupied during the day.
The walkout comes after months of tense negotiations between Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the school board and union leaders at a time when unions and collective bargaining have come under criticism around the nation during difficult economic times.
Emanuel said that the two sides are not very far apart at all and that this is not a money situation now.
Emanuel said that a fair and comprehensive proposal was given to the teachers union.
One of the key sticking issues is around teacher evaluations, something that the teachers have a very different idea about in terms of how they feel they ought to be evaluated.
While the offer put forth by the school board has come a long way from the original offers when the negotiations started back in March, it does not seem as if the teachers are about to negotiate or agree to any concessions on any issues about how the education system works and how teachers work within the system.
CPS Board President David Vitale does believe that a fair offer is on the table.
He said the deal comes with a 3 percent raise the first year, and 2 percent the second, third and fourth years of the deal.
CPS claims it is a 16 percent raise, but according to the CTU, it is not fair enough.
One of the main issues the union raises is that they want laid off teachers to have the first chance on other jobs that may be opening. They could not come to an agreement on that issue.
Some of the other demands include class size and making sure air conditioning is in the classrooms. The union is concerned that not enough social workers are a part of this contract and they will fight for what is being called wrap-around services.
The teachers union said the proposal that is on the table for them right now does not address the whole range of these matters, and they say they will not sign any deal and will stay at the table until all of their demands are met.
There is a 10:30 a.m. news conference scheduled Monday at the Harold Washington Library where CPS officials will lay out the contingency plan.
District officials have made plans to feed and monitor students at 144 schools throughout the city during the strike.
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