Monday Sep 17, 201202:11 PM GMT
Chicago mayor seeks injunction to block teachers strike
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Striking Chicago school teachers march after a rally in Chicago on September 15, 2012. (File photo)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:9PM
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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has threatened to seek a court order as teachers extend strike in the third-largest US city over teacher evaluations and job security provisions.


Emanuel said on Sunday he would go to court to seek an injunction to block the Chicago Teachers Union’s walkout, and called the labor action “illegal” under state law, Reuters reported.

"I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union," he said.

Emanuel added that the Chicago teachers union went on strike over issues that are not subject to a strike under Illinois state law.

Karen Lewis, president of Chicago Teachers Union, said on Sunday that after extensive debate, the union’s House of Delegates decided not to suspend the strike because the majority of its members wanted additional time to discuss the weekend deal with officials from the nation's third-largest school district.

"Our members are not happy," Lewis said. "They want to know if there is anything more they can get."

She said the union's delegates will meet again on Tuesday, and the soonest classes are likely to resume is Wednesday, which means that there would be no classes for more than 350,000 students around the city for a second week.

As many as 29,000 teachers went on a strike action last week amid stalled contract talks between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union.

The protesters demand Mayor Rahm Emanuel withdraw some of his educational reforms, which they say place job security at peril.

Emanuel intends to close down underperforming schools, increase the number of taxpayer-funded and non-union charter schools, and let corporations and charities run some schools.

He also wants principals to have the authority to hire who they want, and he supports the use of standardized test results and merit pay to evaluate and reward teachers.

This is while the Chicago Teachers Union disagrees with teacher evaluations dependent on to student test scores and granting principals much leeway in recruitment.

The union also wants a larger pay increase than the 8 percent increase over four years that Chicago is offering.

Moreover, the union plans to radically shrink class sizes and boost funding for education.

It harbors strong suspicions that the reform of Chicago's public schools would likely terminate traditional job protections such as tenure, teacher autonomy and seniority.

The Chicago Teachers Union believes charter schools will weaken public education.

MP/JR
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