Politics

Possible Chicago teachers strike follows Mayor Emanuel to DNC

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Throughout the Illinois Democratic National Convention delegation events this week in Charlotte, N.C., the potential Chicago teachers strike has been front and center.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took to the stage at breakfast Wednesday to confront a growing political concern that's following him across the country.

In his morning speech to the Illinois delegation, Emanuel focused on the Obama re-election campaign. But as soon as he left the podium, the media swarm demanded the latest on the teacher strike threat back home.

"I think the kids belong, should stay in the classroom," he said. "They have great teachers. And the negotiators should stay at the negotiating table and finish their job."

As the union's Monday, September 10th strike deadline approaches, the Chicago Republican Party issued a release headlined the "mayor fails to lead on national stage" as Emanuel attends the convention in Charlotte during the contract negotiations in Chicago.

"The president and his team asked me to speak. I'm going to be here. I don't think in the 36 hours we miss a beat," he said.

The school board's vice president Jesse Ruiz is also in Charlotte serving as a Democratic delegate.

"We all have many roles, and I'm in touch every day and very much aware of what's going on," Ruiz.

Later, the U.S. Education Secretary and former Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan said with five days before the deadline, there was still time to avoid a work stoppage.

"I think everybody's working and I have a lot of confidence good things will happen," Duncan said.

ABC7 asked the politicking mayor -- whose children attend a private school -- if he shared the concern over a possible teacher's strike with public school parents.

"People didn't make a decision to vote for me or not vote for me based on my own children because that's a decision I make as a parent but based on what I could do for their children," Emanuel said.

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