Little progress in Chicago teachers strike

Sept. 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Little progress was reported Wednesday on ending a strike by Chicago public school teachers, with school officials sniping at the union.

"Yesterday, our negotiations were characterized as silly," said administrator Barbara Byrd-Bennett before negotiations resumed as teachers walked picket lines for the third day.

Byrd-Bennett, the district's chief education adviser, told reporters she was dismayed that Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis had told a union rally she had to return to the bargaining table for "the silly part" of her day.

"I can share with you and the larger community, that it's all but silly," Byrd-Bennett told the Chicago Tribune. "We take these negotiations serious."

Negotiators met for 10 hours Tuesday and Lewis slipped out a back exit to address a union march and rally that snarled traffic downtown before the evening rush hour.

Byrd-Bennett said the strike was causing hardship for parents who have to find childcare and student-athletes who are missing practices and games.

Lewis said union negotiators had received and reviewed a proposed contract package from the board late Tuesday and said there had been "some movement forward."

Major sticking points in the talks include the issue of recalling teachers who might be affected by future school closings.

Chicago has the nation's third largest public school system with 350,000 students and more than 29,000 teachers.

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