Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis (L) answers a question next to Vice President Jesse Sharkey during a news conference on the seventh day of their strike in Chicago September 16, 2012. Chicago Teachers Union delegates decided on Sunday to extend their weeklong strike until at least Wednesday to give them time to consult with rank-and-file members before voting to suspend the walkout. (Photo : Reuters)
The teachers strike in Chicago entered its second week on Monday despite efforts by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to obtain a court order to end the strike immediately, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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On Monday, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Peter Flynn refused to set a hearing for that day and instead stated he may set a hearing for Wednesday. A day earlier, the teachers union’s House of Representatives rejected a tentative contract, insisting they needed more time to evaluate the details, the Los Angeles Times said.
The now week-old protest has paralyzed the nation’s third-largest school district and has left over 350,000 students without school to attend. According to the Chicago Tribune, the teachers union is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday to discuss the prolongation of the walkout.
According to Reuters, the city has filed a temporary restraining order against the Chicago Teachers Union seeking “to end the strike immediately.” The complaint cites danger to public safety and a violation of Illinois state law that prohibits strikes on anything but wages and benefits.
The complaint read, “State law expressly prohibits the CTU from striking over non-economic issues, such as layoff and recall policies, teacher evaluations, class size and the length of the school day and year. The CTU’s repeated statements and recent advertising campaign have made clear that these are exactly the subjects over which the CTU is striking.”
In response, the Chicago Teachers Union released a statement lashing out against the Chicago Public Schools and Emanuel, the L.A. Times reported.
In their statement, the union said, “CPS’ spur-of-the-moment decision to seek injunctive relief some six days later appears to be a vindictive act instigated by the mayor. This attempt to thwart our democratic process is consistent with Mayor Emanuel’s bullying behavior toward public school educators.”
The strike, which may or may not end this week, has become an increasingly frustrating issue for parents, who have been forced to find alternative child care plans to care for their children.
Parent Don Roseen told the Chicago Tribune, “I’m not taking a side one way or another as to how it should be settled. It’s just there’s no reason we should not be in the classroom while they negotiate this contract. The whole concept that the kids get stuck in the middle of this situation when they don’t have to is very frustrating.”
According to Reuters, polls last week showed Chicago voters supporting the union but support could waver if the strike continues.