A large screen displayed CTU resolve , saying:
"RESOLVED that the House of Delegate shall set a strike date of September 10, 2012. The strike is necessary to achieve a labor contract with acceptable wages, benefits and job protections; and for all other purposes for which a strike is authorized under law. The strike is also necessary to protest unfair labor practices committed by CPS against out membership."
Without a fair and equitable contract, members unanimously approved the resolution. An Executive Board motion requested it. CTU president Lewis called for ayes. The hall roared. She then asked for nays. Silence followed.
Schools were already in session. Over 240 so-called Track E ones operate year round.
A special House of Delegates meeting also approved a resolution calling for other union members to wear red in solidarity with teachers.
Chicago is occupied territory. At midnight Sunday night, teachers walked out. It's their first strike in 25 years. On Monday, the Chicago Tribune headlined "CPS, teachers fail to reach deal to prevent strike," saying:
Despite progress on some issues, both sides remain far apart on others. CPS (Chicago Public Schools) officials have a contingency plan. They'll open 144 schools from 8:30 AM - 12:30PM. At issue is whether state law will be observed. It prohibits CPS from offering classroom instruction without certified teachers.
"Parents are being urged to find alternatives and use the schools only as a last resort."
Charter ones aren't affected. They operate as quasi-private ones. Veteran English teacher/union delegate Jay Rehak spoke for others, saying:
"I think people feel like they've been bullied, so they're (saying) 'OK, let's do this this. Let's dance.' We know a strike is really going to be painful. 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.' "
The nation's third largest school system is affected. Picket lines formed in front of City Hall. They're also at school system central and other administrative offices.
Monday morning, they spread across over 600 schools. More than 20,000 teachers were joined by other school employees, parents and students.
School Board president David Vitale and CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard never negotiated in good faith. In fact, they weren't directly involved. A highly paid private law firm represented them.
CEO Brizard never appeared at bargaining sessions. His absence showed contempt for teacher rights. He and Vitale reflect top-down Emanuel-imposed diktat authority.
Claims about too little money in the system don't wash. They reflect efforts to divert city resources for corporate interests at the expense of vital services. Chicago schools, teachers, and support staff have been hit hard. They and other city workers bear the brunt of draconian budget cuts.
Negotiations began last November. Dozens of sessions were held. No agreement was reached. At 10PM Sunday, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) president Karen Lewis issued a formal statement . In part it said: