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Midnight Deadline Looms: Chicago Teachers Strike Imminent

Common Dreams staff

Teachers and pro-teacher community groups rally in front of a building the Chicago Teachers Union has designated its strike headquarters on Saturday in Chicago. (Sitthixay Ditthavong/AP)

Negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and The Chicago School Board reopened Sunday morning, in a bid to avoid the Union's first strike in 25 years. If a compromise is not reached by midnight tonight, teachers will begin their 29,000 strong strike on Monday morning.

In June, approximately 90% of CTU members voted for a strike action, following a proposal of sweeping school reforms by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The reforms, some of which have already been pushed through, include increased teachers' working hours by 20%, a cut to a promised 4% pay rise in half, major funding cuts to public schools, and the opening of 60 new privatized, non-union "charter" schools in the next five years.

The Union handed out strike signs and red union t-shirts at its strike headquarters on Saturday, following failed negotiations in which the Chicago School Board offered a deal that proved "disappointing, to say the least," according to Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey.

If a deal is reached Sunday, the union said it would need to gather delegates to vote on whether to call off a strike.

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