Monday, April 4, 2016

Chicago school teachers walk out

Chicago Public School teachers walked off the job as planned April 1 in a one-day work stoppage protesting alleged unfair labor practices, including the removal of some contracted-for teacher funds.

But the teachers also said they chose to picket to call attention to the need for increased state funding for the cash-strapped CPS. The labor action could foreshadow a longer strike over a new contract; by law, however, such a strike cannot begin for several weeks.

The walkout closed schools for nearly 400,000 students who had the option of spending the day at one of more than 250 “contingency sites” that CPS opened for them at churches, libraries, and school buildings.

The strike drew criticism from Governor Bruce Rauner, who called the walkout outrageous. District officials called the one-day action illegal.

Union leaders countered that the strike is legal under federal law, and argued it will pressure state legislators to produce a plan to help CPS get greater financial help.

The Chicago Teachers Union last went on strike in 2012, shutting down schools for more than a week before reaching an agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. That contract expired in June; negotiations on a new contract have been underway for more than a year.

For reaction to the strike, see today’s Leading News and the Leading News Archives for March and April.