Chicago Teachers Strike: Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces End of Teachers Union Strike
Sep 19, 2012 12:26 PM EDT
After an eight day strike the Chicago Teachers Union finally returned to schools on Wednesday. The contract has yet to be officially ratified, but CTU says that it has procured its most important demands.
According to the settlement the new teachers' contract stipulated a 17.6 percent raise in teachers' salaries over the next four years. It also dismisses the merit pay program and lowered the percentage that student standardized tests weights on a teachers evaluation. In addition the new contract will also contain a recall policy for top-teachers laid off due to the closing of the school.
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On Tuesday night, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered a speech at the Walter Payton College Prep in which he announced the end of the city's first teachers' strike in 25 years.
"This settlement is an honest compromise. It means returning our schools to their primary purpose: the education of our children...In this contract, we gave our children a seat at the table. In past negotiations, taxpayers paid more, but our kids got less. This time, our taxpayers are paying less, and our kids are getting more," as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
According to a CNN report, "Across the board, on every issue, the teachers got a more favorable outcome than the school system."
CTU President Karen Lewis told Fox News, "there is no such thing as a contract that could make all of us happy," and that the union and district officials reached a mutual settlement based on "rational" compromise.
On Wednesday, more than 350,000 students return to the class rooms as do the 800 teachers' union delegates. Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard told CNN, "With this agreement now, we have the foundation for transformation."
On Tuesday, Judge Peter Flynn declined Mayor Emanuel's request for a same-day court-hearing on an injunction filed earlier to end the teachers' strike, which had spilled into its second week after failed negotiations Sunday.
On September 10, for the first time in 25 years in Chicago as many as 25,000 public school teachers went on strike over contract issues between the union and the school district officials. Teachers gather to picket over contract disputes mainly related to teachers' accountability, health benefits and performance evaluations et al according to the Christian Monitor.
CBS News reports that both parties (the Union and district officials) had nearly reached a settlement with regards to wages. The report indicates that the average public school teacher in Chicago earns $71,000 annually. According to district officials, teachers were offered a 16 percent salary increase, which was double an initial offer.
Chicago is the third largest school district in the country. Now the city struggle to keep more than 400,000 children occupied.
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