After 10 months of negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and the city’s school board, approximately 25,000 teachers began a strike Monday morning — on what was to be the city’s first day of school.
The deadline for the opposing groups to reach an agreement on labor practices, including the ending of yearly raises, was set for 12 a.m. Sunday night, but they did not find common ground. Among the issues standing in the way of an agreement, according to CBS News, are teacher performance and accountability, which the union feels are a threat to job security.
Late Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has already forced teachers to lengthen their school days, said he was “disappointed” in the union’s decision to continue with a strike.
“I am disappointed that we have come to this point, given that even all the other parties acknowledge how close we are because this is a strike of choice,” Emanuel said. “Because of how close we are, it is a strike that is unnecessary.”
After talks ended last night, Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale said he believes CPS officials made their best possible offer to teachers.
“There’s only so much money in the system. There’s only so many things that we can do that are available to us,” Vitale said. “At this juncture, it is clearly their decision. … We’ve done everything we can.”
In response to the strike, the school district has opened 144 of its 548 schools so that children in need (and with no contingency plan) can have a safe haven and food to eat. Churches are also opening their doors to students who expected to be in school today, and the police department has increased patrols.
Read more at CBS News.