Judge postpones CPS strike injunction ruling til Wednesday

September 17, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The teachers union members want more time to study the contract before they vote to end the strike.

The complaint went in front of the judge around 11 a.m., and he decided to hold off on making any kind of decision until Wednesday.

The judge did not want to hear arguments on either side Monday. So, for now, the teachers' strike continues.

Teachers union members hit the picket line for a second week as Emanuel asked the court to force them back to work. CPS President David Vitale says he is disappointed it has come to this.

"We've been accommodating to get a full comprehensive contract that would be respectful and fair to our teachers," he said. "We could have done this at any time, but the truth of the matter is we said let's work it all out. But we've gotten to a point where we just have to say it's time to put our kids in school."

Mayor Emanuel calls the strike illegal because he says it endangers students health and safety. He claims issues such as teachers evaluations are not strikable.

"I actually think it's counterproductive. I think it's like silencing our voices. It's what the mayor did in NATO when he tried to shut down protests," said Jackson Potter, CTU staff coordinator.

CTU says the strike is legal because it is based on working conditions, their compensation and job security. Teachers are asking the city for patience. They want more time to review the tentative deal.

"it was very simple, they need time to go back to their members. They need to think clearly about what this represents. We've gone without pay for five days. That's an important decision that wasn't made lightly. And when they come back, they wanna do it with a clear conscience," said Potter.

CPS says it is suing for the sole purpose of getting students back into the classroom as soon as possible. The city's corporation counsel is trying to figure out what their next step is going to be.

Union leaders will meet Tuesday. They could vote to suspend the strike if they find the contract agreement is reasonable.

"They're not happy with the agreement. They would like it to be actually a lot better for us than it is," said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. "I mean, clearly, a contract is always a set of negotiations, and no sides are ever completely happy, but our members are not happy."

Teachers expressed disappointment with the deal presented to the House of Delegates over the weekend. Members say they need more time to evaluate it and talk it over with the rank and file.

CPS officials are also disappointed. They say they thought they had a good deal with the union.

"There is no reason why our kids cannot be in school while the union reviews the agreement," said Emanuel.

In a statement, the mayor says, "This continued action by union leadership is illegal on two grounds. It is over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children."

"People have a right to feel the way they do. They have a right to discuss it and to feel more comfortable, but right now when somebody gets something and they haven't seen it, they feel rushed. They don't want to make a decision," Lewis said.

There are no negotiations scheduled Monday, but union officials will meet sometime Tuesday.

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