By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune
Contract negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the teachers union are in their fourth month and union president Karen Lewis said Thursday that an informal poll of members at 150 schools shows “overwhelming” support for a strike.
Schools chiefJean-Claude Brizard, holding a separate news conference, rebuked the union for bringing up the possibility of a strike while talks are still underway.
“It’s unfortunate that the CTU will be talking about a strike when we know we have so much work we have to do within our schools,” Brizard said.
Even if support among teachers is there, the possibility of a strike remains distant. Under a new state law, if talks bog down there are still steps the two sides must take that would take at least four months to complete before a walkout can be initiated. New state legislation not only raises the vote threshold needed for a strike—75 percent of union members now need to approve it, rather than the majority of vote-takers previously required—but the timeline leading to a strike has also become drawn out.