Teachers Reject Mediator’s Plan, Strike Looms | WBEZ
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Chicago Teachers Reject Mediator’s Plan, Could Set Strike In Motion

The Chicago Teachers Union says the countdown toward a possible strike has begun.

The CTU quickly rejected contract recommendations from a third party mediator yesterday, starting a 30-day countdown to a strike.

Chicago school officials accepted mediator Steven Bierig’s recommendations Saturday, and Bierig suggested that CTU do the same.

In a statement, CPS called that recommendation “fair and reasonable.”

But CTU president Karen Lewis said in a statement that “We have no choice to prepare ourselves for a possible strike.”

Meanwhile, CPS chief Forrest Claypool says he wants to get back to negotiating immediately.

“We will do everything possible to prevent a strike and reach a fair deal,” Claypool said.

The union’s key demand is that more money be brought into the district to head off mass layoffs.

Claypool says the only thing he can do is beg the state of Illinois for more money-- and so far that hasn’t worked. The state has been operating without a budget for 9 months.

The union says it hasn’t decided when it would strike-- the earliest a strike could begin is May 16. That’s about a month before the last day of school on June 21.
CTU could also wait until the the 2016-17 school year and strike in September, when school resumes.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said in a statement rejecting the arbitrator's recommendation that "the clock has started.”

The union staged a one-day walkout on April 1 to protest what it says are proposals that would cut compensation for teachers.

Chicago Public Schools says it is in dire financial shape and cannot afford to sweeten its contract offer.

Sarah Karp is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her @sskedreporter or @wbezeducation

Fact-finder's Report and Concurrence on Chicago Teachers contract

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