Chicago Teachers Strike for First Time in 25 Years
Approximately 26,000 Chicago-area teachers and support staff went on strike today, after contract talks broke down late Sunday, reported the Associated Press.
Their first strike since 1987, teachers voted in June to authorize a strike if a new agreement could not be reached.
The walkout by the nation’s third-largest school district was a result of failed negotiations on several issues, including salaries and benefits, job security and teacher evaluation systems. Though talks resumed today, in addition to ending the strike, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City must now quickly figure out how to keep nearly 400,000 children safe and occupied.
“This is not a strike I wanted,” Emanuel said Sunday night, not long after the union announced the action. “It was a strike of choice … it’s unnecessary, it’s avoidable and it’s wrong.”
“This is a difficult decision and one we hoped we could have avoided,” said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. “We must do things differently in this city if we are to provide our students with the education they so rightfully deserve.”
Average teacher pay is $76,000 a year. The school system has a $665 million budget deficit.