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If there is a tentative deal struck Thursday night or first thing Friday morning, it will go to the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates for a vote. They are scheduled to meet Friday afternoon or an update on the negotiations, but that could easily be turned into a ratification vote, clearing the way for a Monday return to classes.
There are more than 700 union members in the CTU's House of Delegates. The last time they met, in August, they overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike.
According to a map provided by the union, delegate representation is broken down by zones of the city and schools within zones. One delegate per public school is elected by union teachers in that school and each serves a three-year term.
Friday at 2 p.m., when House of Delegates members meet at the Operating Engineers Union Hall, the best scenario is that they will be considering a tentative contract.
They have had time to study the last written proposal from Chicago public school negotiators, but the final contract is likely to include changes agreed to during the past 24 hours.
More than one year ago, delegates prepared a background PowerPoint on the teacher's contract situation, alerting members that they were part of a "nationwide attack on public sector unions," highlighted by a manufactured fiscal crisis -- although in Chicago, huge school deficits will continue into the future.
Even a year ago, the House of Delegates predicted Mayor Rahm Emanuel will go after all Chicago unions, and stated that the mayor and schools president Jean-Claude Brizard wanted radical changes, including longer school days, merit pay, more charter schools and pension relief.
Foreshadowing what would happen a year later, this slide: unilateral action -- in August 2011-- listing a strike as the union's strongest action and preparing members, "everyone will need to...do their part."
This week their part has been to march in the streets.
ABC7 and the I-Team have been asked by some viewers why thousands of strikers have been permitted to block traffic and shut down large sections of the Loop.
A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department told the I-Team: "They did not block traffic -- we redirected traffic in order to facilitate the expression of their 1st Amendment rights."
Fred Klonsky Education Blog
Substance News Education Report
Chicago Teachers Union Constitution and Bylaws