Chicago Teachers Union Votes to End Strike

After Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a court request Monday for an injunctive order to force teachers to retire their picket signs, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to end the strike in a meeting Tuesday. Over 800 delegates voted and the decision was nearly unanimous, Union President Karen Lewis said in a press conference. Students will be back in the classroom Wednesday. 

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) staged a walkout on Sept. 10 in response to Mayor Emanuel's proposed approach to teacher pay based on student evaluations and test scores, among other amendments not aligned with CTU standards. In the week-long standoff, teachers were asking for incremental pay increases of around 2-3 percent annually, better treatment from principals and district managers, and new hires for arts and other creative subjects. 

The request for an injunction order had further soured relations between the mayor and CTU members, but with the strike coming to a close, both sides seem content with the outcome.  "[...] We feel very positive about moving forward," said Lewis during yesterday's press conference. Emanuel said he thought the "settlement is an honest compromise," in a conference following CTU's. 

Over the next few weeks, details of the contract agreement, which include more teacher-influenced evaluations and an effort to reduce bullying of teachers, will be fleshed out and implementation will follow. 

The core purpose of organized labor unions is to uphold or improve working conditions for the collective good of those employed in the given industry. Under U.S. employment law, certain acts give private and public employees the right (or in some cases, limit the right) to form unions and strike if necessary. Such acts include the Clayton Antitrust Act, a spin-off of the Sherman Antitrust Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Federal Labor Relations Act, and others. In addition to federal labor regulations, each state provides variations of union and employment laws as well. Click here to learn more about Employment Labor Laws.

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