CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago teachers began voting Wednesday on whether to authorize a strike, amid contract talks with the Chicago Public Schools, although a possible walkout is still months away.
The Chicago Teachers Union and the district remained far apart on terms for a new contract, despite more than a year of talks.
State law requires 75 percent of all CTU members to authorize a strike before teachers can walk out.
Union officials believe a yes vote would strengthen their bargaining position with the Emanuel administration.
“We need to have a way to convince the district and the mayor, ultimately, that things are serious, and it’s time to start negotiating seriously,” CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said. “At this point, negotiations are stuck going nowhere. We’re talking in circles. Teachers are frustrated about the lack of progress. They’re frustrated about the cuts that are being threatened. They’re frustrated about the violence that’s spilling over from the neighborhoods into the schools. So there’s anger, and we need some solutions at the bargaining table.”