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Teachers to Vote on New Contract Oct. 2

Seven-day teacher strike, the city's first in 25 years, ended Tuesday

By BJ Lutz
|  Friday, Sep 21, 2012  |  Updated 4:24 AM PDT
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Mayor: Deal an 'Honest Compromise'

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Lewis: "We Feel Very Positive"

The Chicago Teacher's Union president said the CTU feels positive about the new contract and holds out hope that Mayor Rahm Emanuel will accept it in good faith.

Mayor: Deal an 'Honest Compromise'

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to reporters after the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates voted to end their strike. He says the contract offer gives students "a seat at the table."
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The deal that ended a seven-day Chicago teachers strike will be put up for union approval early next month, Chicago Teachers Union officials said Thursday.

Packets of information, including the new contract and ballots, should arrive in schools on Friday, Sept. 28, CTU Financial Secretary Kristine Mayle said.

Due to union rules that any contract must be approved within 10 days of the suspension of a strike, "Everybody has to vote sometime on Oct. 2," she said.

Votes on the 197-page contract will be tallied immediately, though the count could take a day or two. 

A simple majority of those who vote is needed for passage.

Thousands of teachers in the nation's third-largest school district walked off the job on Sept. 10 after more than a year of slow, contentious negotiations over salary, health benefits and job security.

Shortly after Emanuel took office in May 2011, the school board unanimously voted to cancel a 4 percent pay increase in the final year of the teachers' existing contract. Months later, Emanuel's administration began coercing teachers at some schools to extend the length of their school day.

The teachers' previous contract expired June 30 and both sides weeks later rejected a report assembled by an independent fact-finder. That set the stage for the work stoppage the mayor said was "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  striking 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.

Teachers walked off the job for 19 days in October 1987. Prior to that, there had been nine strikes between 1969 and 1987.

This latest strike forced busy parents to find alternative care for their children. Many said they exhausted available vacation time. Others made use of the nearly 150 "Children First" sites that provided students with alternative programming and meals.

As the strike entered its second week, some frustrated parents became more vocal in their demand that both sides end the stalemate. A small group of parents on Monday marched outside CTU headquarters holding signs that read "If you care about the kids, go back to work" and "350,000 CPS Hostages! Let our children learn" and "Don't say you care, show it!"


Details of the tentative deal:
 

NBC Chicago has an array of reporters and producers covering the Chicago teacher strike. Check our live blog for continuous coverage and updates throughout the strike.

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