Chicago Teachers Strike Ends
By NBC News staff
Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET: CHICAGO – Union officials agreed to end the Chicago teachers strike, and classes will resume on Wednesday in the nation’s third-largest school district.
The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates — nearly 800 members — voted to end the strike during a meeting at Operating Engineers Hall, on the city’s south side.
The vote comes after delegates had a chance to review a contract proposal solidified over the weekend and means roughly 350,000 Chicago Public Schools students will be back in class after seven days off.
The action, however, does not mean an automatic approval of that contract. Ratification of the contract requires a separate vote from the union’s rank and file.
Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis says the city’s students will be back in class Wednesday after delegates voted overwhelmingly to suspend a seven-day teachers strike. Watch the entire news conference.
“We feel very positive about moving forward. We feel grateful that we have a united union, and that when a union moves together we have amazing things happen,” Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said shortly after the vote.
“We said that it was time, that we couldn’t solve all the problems of the world with one contract. And it was time to suspend the strike,” she said.
NBCChicago.com’s Live Blog coverage of Chicago’s historic strike
Union delegate Mike Bochner said “an overwhelming majority” of delegates voted for the strike’s end on a voice vote. “I’m really excited, I’m really relieved,” Bochner, an elementary school teacher, told The Chicago Sun Times.
Ahead of the vote, hundreds of parents had gathered outside the Chicago Board of Education to stand with teachers.
“Whatever decision they make today on the proposed contract, we’re behind them,” Erica Clark, a Chicago schools parent told reporters. “Parents are asking for the same things teachers are asking for.”
Chicago Public Schools teachers walked off the job on Sept. 10 after more than a year of slow, contentious negotiations over salary, health benefits and job security. The teachers’ previous contract expired June 30 and both sides weeks later rejected a report assembled by an independent fact-finder.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the work stoppage “unnecessary” and one of “choice.”
While leadership on both sides continued the back-and-forth of contract negotiations, thousands of teachers and their supporters for days took to the city streets in a massive show of solidarity.
On Monday, Emanuel and CPS attorneys filed a request for an injunction to force teachers off the picket lines, claiming the outstanding issues, as publicly stated by the CTU — teacher evaluations and recalls — weren’t legal reasons for a work stoppage.
A provision added to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act last year prohibits teachers from strike on issues unrelated to economic matters; those involving pay and benefits.
A Cook County judge declined the mayor’s request to hold a same-day hearing on the injunction request. Instead, that hearing would have been held Wednesday. With Tuesday’s action by the House of Delegates, that hearing is no longer necessary.
The proposed contract includes the following: