No School Monday, CTU to Reconvene Tuesday

Teachers asked for more time to look over contract

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Sunday, Sep 16, 2012  |  Updated 8:51 PM EDT
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CTU VP to Meet with Some Delegates Early

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CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 14: Striking Chicago public school teachers picket outside Whitney M. Young Magnet High School on September 14, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. More than 26,000 teachers and support staff walked off of their jobs on September 10 after the Chicago Teachers Union failed to reach an agreement with the city on compensation, benefits and job security. With about 350,000 students, the Chicago school district is the third largest in the United States. First lady Michelle Obama is a 1981 graduate of Whitney Young. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CTU VP to Meet with Some Delegates Early

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President held a press conference shortly after 12 p.m. Sunday before meeting with a small committee of delegate leaders to go over the contract details.

Karen Lewis' "Solidarity Rally" Speech

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis shared a message with teachers during a "Solidarity Rally" on Saturday in Union Park. "We are on strike," Lewis told the crowd. "We have a framework, we do not have an agreement." Her message was delivered as officials from CTU and Chicago Public Schools try to hammer out a deal that would end the week-long strike and put students back in the classroom.
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School will not resume on Monday and the Chicago Teachers Union will remain on strike.

"So our house just met and they would like the opportunity to exercise their democratic process and take the tentative agreement we have come to, that is still not quite finished in terms of language," said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. "They would like to go back to their schools, back to their members and have discussions with them. We will reconvene here on Tuesday."

Lewis added the decision was also out of respect for for the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, which began at sun down on Sunday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not take the news well and vowed legal action to end the strike.

"I have instructed the City's Corporation Counsel to work with the General Counsel of Chicago Public Schools to file an injunction in circuit court to immediately end this strike and get our children back in the classroom," Emanuel said in a statement. "This continued action by union leadership is illegal on two grounds – it is over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children."

During a press conference at City Hall, Chicago School Board President Dave Vitale stood behind the mayor's decision.

"There is no reason why students can't be in school," Vitale said. There will be 147 sites open tomorrow for children as "we do whatever we can," he said.

The city plans to file the injunction as soon as possible.

Delegates plan to reconvene on Tuesday, which means students may have to wait until Wednesday to get back into the classroom.

Last Monday, more than 26,000 teachers and staff walked out, leaving more than 350,000 students unattended. For five days, thousands of teachers picketed outside schools and twice converged on the Board of Education headquarters downtown.

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