Judge Won't Hold Same-Day Hearing on Chicago Teacher Strike

The hearing will take place Wednesday—after the CTU delegates meet and vote on a proposed contract

A Cook County Circuit Court judge on Monday shot down a request to hold a same-day hearing for an injunction to immediately end Chicago's teacher strike.

During a short meeting, Judge Peter Flynn postponed the requested hearing until Wednesday, city law department spokesman Roderick Drew said. That comes after the Chicago Teachers Union's delegates are scheduled to meet and vote on a proposed contract.

Earlier in the day, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made good on promised legal action to try and end the city's first teachers strike in 25 years, instructing his corporate counsel and the attorney for Chicago Public Schools to file an injunction to get kids and teachers back in class.

"I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union," Emanuel said Sunday in a statement. "This was a strike of choice and now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children."

Emanuel added that the continued strike was illegal on two grounds: "It is over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children."

Union delegates on Sunday deferred their vote to end the strike and asked for more time to review a proposed teachers' contract drafted last week by school officials and the Chicago Teachers Union.

"Our members are not happy, and they want to have the opportunity to talk to their members," union president Karen Lewis said. "They want to know is there still anything more they can get."

The union's chief of staff Jackson Potter told NBC Chicago that "if the agreement is not good, if the members reject it and think it won't improve conditions in their schools and classrooms, then we want the board to listen to those concerns before we would go back to school."

School board president David Vitale said Monday the two sides are done negotiating and CPS is waiting on the union.

"We've done as much as we know how to do," Vitale said. "We reached an agreement with their leadership, we think it's a good agreement. It's time for the teachers to get back in school."

Potter said it's worth the wait.

"People have to live for three years under the terms of this agreement, and so it has to be a good agreement, it has to reflect the concerns that we brought to the table all along."

Union delegates aren't scheduled to meet again until Tuesday out of respect for the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which began at sundown Sunday.

Emanuel has no scheduled events Monday.

More than 26,000 teachers and staff walked out last Monday, leaving more than 350,000 students unattended. For five days, thousands of teachers picketed outside schools and twice converged on the Board of Education headquarters downtown.

The strike follows months of slow, contentious negotiations over salary, health benefits and job security after the school board unanimously voted last year to cancel teachers' 4 percent pay hike in the final year of their contract.

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