Chicago Teachers Go On Strike [VIDEO]
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the strike called by the Chicago Teachers Union is “unnecessary” and unfair to the city’s school children.
The mayor spoke shortly after union President Karen Lewis announced that the city’s 25,000 public school teachers would walk the picket line Monday morning after talks with the school board broke down Sunday night.
Emanuel says the two sides disagreed mainly over two issues that could quickly be finished if the negotiations continued, and that the district’s team was ready to start talks again at any time. He said the district had offered the teachers at 16 percent pay raise over four years.
The two sides have been negotiating for months. District officials plan to feed and monitor students at 144 schools throughout the city during the strike.
School officials said they will open more than 140 schools between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. so children can eat lunch and breakfast in a district where many students receive free meals. The district asked community organizations to provide additional programs for students, and a number of churches, libraries and other groups plan to offer day camps and other activities. But it’s not clear how many families will send their children to the added programs.
Police Chief Garry McCarthy said he was deploying police officers to those sites to ensure kids’ safety but also to “deal with any protests that teachers may, in fact, have” while protecting their rights. He also was taking officers off desk duties and redeploying them to the streets to deal with potential protests — and thousands of students who could be on the streets.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)