Citing disagreements over health benefits, evaluations and job security, Chicago’s teachers’ union went on strike as of Monday morning for the first time in 25 years.
“We know a strike is really going to be painful,” union delegate Jay Rehak told The Chicago Tribune. “People will be hurt on both sides. But in the end, it’s like saying, ‘I’ll be bloodied and you’ll be bloodied, but at least you’ll know not to bully me again.'”
Local school board president David Vitale said the city had offered teachers a 16 percent pay raise over four years, along with other benefits packages, as part of a proposal that changed 20 times over the course of negotiations.
“This is about as much as we can do,” Vitale said. “There is only so much money in the system.”
In a statement late Sunday night, union president Karen Lewis acknowledged that the two sides had made progress in salary negotiations, but said disagreements over health benefit costs, job security and the way teachers were evaluated remained.
WLS-TV reported that teachers and supporters were gathering at Chicago Public Schools headquarters as early as 5 a.m. Monday to start picketing, with more than 26,000 faculty and support staff expected to participate.
As the strike began, the city’s school district opened 144 schools on a “last resort” half-day basis for the 357,000 students affected, with other community organizations and 78 of the city’s libraries also availing themselves for use.
“The choice by the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union to strike is an incredible burden on our families and children,” CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said in a statement, according to WMAQ-TV. “I want to thank Chicago’s community and faith leaders for coming together to support our students in what will be a difficult time.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel told WBBM-TV he considered the strike unnecessary, citing progress in negotiations regarding teachers’ compensation. He also downplayed criticism at not being personally involved in the process; the Tribune reported that according to several sources, Emanuel was discouraged from taking part because of “too much bad blood” between himself and Lewis.
“It’s not about my presence, it’s about reaching agreement,” he said. “As I believe, this is an honorable deal. It’s an honest compromise between both parties, without anybody having to compromise principle.”
WLS-TV’s report on the strike, aired Monday morning, can be seen below.
Update: Headline has been corrected
Update, 12 p.m. EST: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney released a statement criticizing the strike.
“Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet,” Romney said. “President Obama has chosen his side in this fight, sending his Vice President last year to assure the nation’s largest teachers union that ‘you should have no doubt about my affection for you and the President’s commitment to you.’ I choose to side with the parents and students depending on public schools to give them the skills to succeed, and my plan for education reform will do exactly that.”
GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report
The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."
"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.
‘Not true at all’: CNN’s fact-checker says even the professor Trump cited on Google election fraud says president is lying
On Monday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," fact-checker Daniel Dale told host Chris Cuomo that not only is President Donald Trump's claim that Google threw over 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton a lie, the professor he's citing, Robert Epstein, has repudiated Trump's interpretation of it.
"It's not true at all," said Dale. "I spoke to the author of this study ... There are various questions about the quality of the study, but even the study's author says that the president didn't describe the study correctly. What the study's author says is he has no evidence that anything was manipulated, search results or votes themselves. What he says, and this is disputed, is that Google's search results showed bias during the 2016 election."
Maddow warns of Donald Trump causing massive gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia outbreak
The host of MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" warned of the Trump administration causing a widespread outbreak of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
"But here’s a story that just broke this afternoon that I think is likely to have pretty profound consequences all over the country. And one of the reasons we know that -- or at least we have reason to suspect that -- is because we’ve already seen a few little case studies about how exactly this is going to go wrong, because there are a few states that sort of beat the rest of the country to the punchline on this one," Maddow explained.