Wednesday Sep 19, 201210:28 AM GMT
Chicago teachers end strike
Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:26AM
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Chicago school teachers voted Tuesday to end a high-profile strike that affected hundreds of thousands of children and sparked an acrimonious stand-off with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, officials said.

 

Emanuel, formerly President Barack Obama's chief of staff, had threatened to seek a court order to immediately end the strike but delegates of the city's teachers union opted to suspend their action and return to school.

 

They "voted overwhelmingly to suspend the strike" and send the contract to all 26,000 of its members for a ratification vote, the CTU said in a statement.

 

The vote was approved by a margin of "like 98 percent to 2," union president Karen Lewis was quoted as telling the Chicago Sun-Times.

 

The strike, the first of its kind in 25 years, has been especially awkward for Obama because the union was fighting Emanuel, who left the White House in October 2010 to organize his ultimately successful mayoral run.

 

A key issue in the strike was a new form of teacher evaluation that the union insists relies too much on student test scores and could lead 30 percent of its members -- some 6,000 teachers -- to be fired in up to two years.

 

Emanuel had claimed the strike was illegal because it concerns "issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikeable," and because it "endangers the health and safety of our children." AFP

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

As the strike ends more than 350,000 students can return to the classroom as of Wednesday.
 

Chicago teachers make an average of about $76,000 annually, according to the school district, according to CNBC.

 

Chicago teachers were seeking a deal calling for an average 17.6 percent raise for them over four years and some benefit improvements, Reuters said.

 

President Barack Obama has been silent about the nasty dispute in his home city pitting his former top White House aide, Emanuel, against the major national labor union (the Chicago Teachers Union) that also supports him, according to CNBC.

 

AHT/ARA

 

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