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There may be 21,000 teachers on strike, 400,000 students and almost 3 million Chicagoans affected, but there are two faces of the strike: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.
Their faceoff has involved issues beyond the contract and is far different than the last strike 25 years ago. Now there are new venues for the gloves to come off.
Mayor Emanuel says this strike isn't about him, but as thousands of teachers marched through the Loop Monday, their union has a different idea, calling it a "historic clash with Mayor Rahm Emanuel."
Chicago Teachers Union officials haven't uttered the word payback, but it has been one year since CTU President Karen Lewis said Emanuel "exploded" during a meeting and invoked the f-word at her.
The union is taking direct aim at Emanuel. In a tweet posted just before strikers hit the streets Monday morning, social media users were directed to a "video of Rahm Emanuel working with the tea party to bust Chicago Teachers Union."
It is a scathing 25-minute video posted on the teachers union YouTube channel, heavily edited, but seems to be aimed at embarrassing Mayor Emanuel for what the CTU believes are his union-busting politics.
In a statement Monday night, a spokesperson for Mayor Emanuel says, "The mayor is working tirelessly to ensure President Obama's re-election and to insinuate that he is working with the tea party is a joke."
That video was originally released by the teachers union during the summer. It features a tea party blogger boasting how he worked with Mayor Emanuel "against the unions" in Chicago.