Judge Postpones Order to End Chicago Teachers Strike
Thousands of public school teachers were back to the streets Monday after a judge postponed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's request for an injunction order to bring the week-long Chicago Teachers Union strike to an end.
Judge Peter Flynn, of Cook County Circuit Court, turned down Emanuel’s request for a same-day injunction hearing, instead scheduling it for Wednesday. According to NBC, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) delegates will meet to further discuss a contract agreement before the upcoming hearing.
Throughout the strike, Emanuel has voiced his discontent with the CTU demands, stating in his injunction order that the ongoing strike is a danger to students and the public. Also stated in the order is the claim that the teachers' demands do not fall within Illinois union laws, maintaining that state law only allows teachers to strike for wages or benefits, not teacher evaluations or length of schools days—two of the teachers’ key points. To read more about union labor laws click here.
In addition to 2-to-3-percent pay increases over 3-year contracts, the 26,000-strong CTU is asking for a new approach to evaluations, 600 new hires in arts and other specialized subjects, and an end to mistreatment of teachers by principals and other school officials. Although, according to this article, not all union members are united in all of these demands.
Whether Judge Flynn decides to go forward with Emanuel’s injunction request remains to be seen. An injunction is considered an extraordinary legal measure that should only be taken as a last resort to uphold status quo in a community. A judge will usually only issue this type of order if the safety of individuals directly hangs in the balance. Given widespread concerns for the vast number of young students not in school, and parents unable to stay home with their children, the situation could arguably warrant such an extreme measure. But there is also a chance CTU delegates will come to an agreement with the school district before Wednesday, ending the legal dispute relatively amicably.