Rahm Emanuel says Chicago teachers’ strike ‘illegal’
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel states that he is going to seek a court order to end a strike by thousands of teachers, as their walkout goes into a second week. He should, as teachers by law aren’t allowed to strike. I’d fire them all, and hire some of the people who are unemployed. The strike, affecting 350,000 students, began when talks broke down over issues including pay and teacher evaluations.
Even though the union reached an outline deal, delegates unexpectedly voted to continue discussions for two more days. The mayor had sought a court injunction to bring the walkout to an immediate halt, he said, because it was over “non-strikable” issues and “endangers the health and safety of our children”. BBC
Mr Emanuel – President Barack Obama’s former White House chief of staff – issued his statement after Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) delegates voted against suspending the strike.
The confrontation is seen as an embarrassment to Mr Obama, in his home city and in the middle of a re-election battle. It is the first strike of its kind in the US for 25 years and awkward for a president with close ties to the mayor. One problem is that the CTU fears more than one in four public school teachers could lose their jobs and benefits if an evaluation of their performance based on students’ test scores goes ahead. If they can’t do the job, get rid of them.
In a statement posted on the CTU website, 800 union delegates considered a 23-page outline deal between the union and the mayor.
Union leader Karen Lewis said “a clear majority” had voted not to suspend the strike to allow delegates two more days to hold discussions with the union’s 26,000 members. Another meeting is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
“Teachers and school staff will return to the picket lines of the schools at which they teach at 07:30 on Monday,” the CTU statement said. BBC
- the evaluations would be phased in over several years while the weighting of students’ test results in evaluations would be reduced
- teachers’ healthcare benefits would stay at current levels
- teachers would receive a 3% raise this year, with 2% in the following two years
- a further increase would be included if the agreement went into a fourth year
The response from parents is mixed.
“We all kind of put everything on hold in finding different ways to watch the kids and keep them entertained,” Humberto Ramirez told the Chicago Tribune.
“It’s been very, very frustrating, especially knowing that [last week] they were close” to a deal. BBC