Following a press release on August 29, 2012 in which the Chicago Teacher's Union announced they may go on strike, talks have fallen apart and the strike is set to begin tomorrow (Monday).
Set to begin this Monday, September 10, some 26,000 public school teachers and assorted professionals will begin their strike to advocate for better services and conditions for them and their students.
The strike is set to begin after talks with union leaders, school board members and Mayor Rahm Emanuel fell apart over the weekend.
Despite teachers being absent school officials have stated that they will still open approximately 140 public schools between the times of 8:30am and 12:30pm in order to allow for the hundreds of thousands of students attending those schools (some 400,000 in total) to receive free meals should they be on one of the free meal plans.
While students may be happy about the school closings and the time they get off from their studies many parents that rely on public schools to watch their children while both parents are working are concerned about what this strike might mean for them. Additionally any missed schooling may need to be made up later on, potentially meaning even more school work for kids in the coming days or weeks once the strike is resolved.
In short: Parents and students be advised that while it may not be snowing outside and the weather may be bright and sunny school doors will be closed for the time being.
Recent reports from the CPS President Karen Lewis further clarified that the deal offered to the teacher's union that was ultimately rejected would cover four years and would cost the district some $400 million. While that number may seem impressive bear in mind how that would break down:
If the $400 million is distributed amongst the 26,000 striking employees over a four year period that would mean roughly $3,846 per person, per year ($400 million dividied by the number of employees and years)
If handled on a per-year basis the number becomes a much more impressive $15,384 per person, however this does not take into account any requested additions to school facilities and teacher conditions as requested in the initial CPS press conference.
Teachers and union leders are set to continue their strike until terms can be agreed upon in order to provide a healthy, safe and constructive work environment for everyone. This is the first teachers strike to happen in Chicago since 1987.
Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel has spoken out against the strike, stating that he believes it to be both "unnecessary" and "unfair" to the city's children. Despite the fact that school teachers have been working without a contract for many months he believes that an agreement could have been reached while schools still maintained normal operation and that this move will only do more harm than good to the city as a whole.