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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BREAKING: Chicago Teachers Union Strike to Come: To File 10-Day Notice

BREAKING NEWS: Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to file 10-day strike notice.
This will potentially set the strike to begin on the second week of school, occupying a difficult part on the news cycle, coming right on the heels of the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for the first week in September.
Chicago Teachers Union to file 10-day strike notice
BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter August 29, 2012 10:10AM

Updated: August 29, 2012 1:03PM

The Chicago Teachers Union plans to file a 10-day notice of intent to strike Wednesday, thrusting teachers closer to a walkout that could start as early as the second week of school, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Another step before a strike could disrupt classes in the nation’s third-largest school system would be the setting of a strike date by the union’s House of Delegates, a topic the body is likely to take up at its meeting on Thursday.

Delegates could set an exact date or give union leaders some leeway.

The union plans a news conference later Wednesday.

The planned filing Wednesday of a 10-day notice of intent to strike comes after CTU President Karen Lewis said late Tuesday that the two sides remain “very far apart” and have only recently resolved small issues, such as “ privacy for nursing mothers and workplace bullying.’’

“We are literally talking about crossing Ts and dotting Is,’’ Lewis said.

Any notice — which allows a strike anytime after 10 days — also would follow contentions by Lewis that an 11th-hour deal for a longer school day has been done “haphazardly” and “ridiculously” — an accusation that took some Chicago school officials by surprise. Under the interim agreement, kids still got the longer day promised by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but teachers’ work day was not substantially lengthened.

Chicago schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard said Wednesday that if union leaders choose to file notice to strike, “We’ll be ready.”

The two sidea have been talking since November about a new contract. Teachers’ old contract expired in June.

Chicago School Board members last week OKed spending up to $25 million to keep students occupied, sheltered and fed in the event of a strike, an authorization that would be triggered upon notice of an intent to strike.

Asked whether a 10-day notice would put added pressure to resolve teacher contract talks that have lingered since November, Brizard said, “We’ve been very serious about negotiations” but a 10-day notice would “put pressure” on kids and parents.

Brizard spoke after meeting with principals at year-round schools, which started classes earlier this month. The principals raved about the extra time and recess that have come with the longer school day.

Several said the possibility of a strike hasn’t disrupted instruction so far.

“No one’s come to me and said they are down,” said Brunson Principal Carol Wilson. “I don’t see it impacting the instructional day.”
BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter August 29, 2012

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