CTU news conference on contract talks, 10 p.m.

September 9, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The press briefing will be conducted by members of the CTU Bargaining Team and attended by members of the House of Delegates.

Tune into ABC7 Chicago News at 10 and watch the press conference in its entirety on ABC7Chicago.com.

Talks started at 11 Sunday morning and so far there is no word from school nor union negotiators.

The strike is set to start Monday morning.

At 12:01 a.m. is when that 10-day strike notice expires. Teachers have been asking for higher pay and better conditions in the classroom.

The board had originally offered teachers a 2 percent raise.

CTU and the board met for nine hours on Saturday.

If there is a strike Monday, it would be the first time for CPS teachers to walk off the job in 25 years.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis was on CNN Sunday morning.

"I think we've had a very aggressive administration," Lewis said. "We've had a mayor who has been determined to silence the voices of the people who do this work."

"We're talking about a new curriculum, a new evaluation plan, really a radical restructuring of all the parts of the school," said CTU Vice President James Sharkey. "Teachers feel like we're fighting preserve a public education system that works both for the students and for those who work for the school. So this is really, for us, about the soul of public education."

"The average Chicago School teacher is making $71,000, they're asking for a 30 percent increase," said John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute. "Meanwhile, the average Chicagoan makes $31,203 and nearly 11 percent of the people in Chicago are unemployed. This is not a time to be asking for raises. This is a time for transformative reforms that will fix the schools for the kids."

If there is a strike, the union ordered members to report to picket lines at 6:30 Monday morning.

The picketing could happen at the 144 contingency sites being opened for children who need a place to go.

The union said teachers crossing the picket lines will be photographed.

If there is a strike, teachers will be holding a rally Monday at CPS headquarters.

The talks are continuing with the hope that progress is being made.

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