Mayor Sues as Students Lose

Update: Court declines to act

CTU Strike / AP
September 17, 2012

Update 2:35 P.M.: A county circuit court has denied Chicago Public Schools lawyers’ request to hold a hearing on the legality of the ongoing teachers strike.

The judge, Peter Flynn, raised the possibility of setting a hearing for Wednesday, but he also questioned whether the issues would be moot by then.

As the Chicago Teacher Union’s strike enters its second week, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has launched a lawsuit to end the strike and return students to the classroom.

The strike has kept more than 350,000 students out of school.

Absent the court's intervention, there is little hope that the strike will end soon: Union president Karen Lewis "acknowledged returning to classes Wednesday may be optimistic, considering how difficult it has been for the union and CPS to find agreement on many key issues," reported the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) lawyers argue in a complaint that the strike is illegal, as state law forbids strikes over non-economic matters.

The complaint also argues that the strike is hurting children. The strike is "a clear and present danger to public health and safety. It prohibits students from receiving critical educational and social services, including meals for students who otherwise may not receive proper nutrition, a safe environment during school hours and critical services for students who have special needs."

Negotiators announced an agreed-upon "framework" on Friday, raising hope of a strike-ending deal.

Those hopes proved false, as teachers have demanded more time to review a proposed deal.

A union official assured the Tribune that the needs of students were on teachers’ minds: "We thought about our children. We thought about our colleagues. We thought about all of that."