The Chicago Teachers Union strike continues Monday after a failure to resolve the strike, now into its second week with 350,000 children affected by the standoff. There had been some optimism that the union officials, who met Sunday afternoon, would vote in favor of the agreement negotiated on their behalf by CTU president Karen Lewis, but that vote failed to occur.
The Teachers Union has been holding the city hostage with massive demonstrations all last week and into the weekend that snarled traffic and added to the difficulties Chicago residents face as part of the strike.
In response, Mayor Rahm Emanuel threatened to sue the CTU, according to the Chicago Tribune:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel late Sunday called the walkout “illegal” and pledged to seek an injunction in court to force an end to the city’s first teachers strike in a quarter century.
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.
“They’re not happy with the agreement. They’d like it to be a lot better for us than it is,” Lewis said. “This is the deal we got. This is not a good deal by any stretch of the imagination, not (compared) to what our members are (used) to having.”
Lewis said teachers were most fearful of what she called the “elephant in the room,” which is that if the CTU continues with its demands, the city will be forced, financially, to close many of the underperforming schools and put more teachers out of jobs.
At the protest Sunday, many of the various radical groups were lobbying teachers to continue the strike as they sought to broaden the platform of the teachers’ strike as part of their own agendas. At this point, it looks like these groups were successful.