The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike if union leaders and school officials cannot come to terms on a new contract.
In a three-day vote in early December, 88 percent of teachers voted in favor of a strike. By law, 75 of members must approve a strike before it can take place.
This would be the second strike by teachers in three years. A 2012 week-long strike was the first strike in Chicago in more than 25 years. A strike could affect 400,000 students in Chicago schools.
The union, which represents 27,000 teachers and is the third largest in the country, has been without a contract since June when talks fell apart over differences in teacher evaluations, standardized testing, pension contributions and salaries.
The school system wants to cut teachers’ pay in light of a $500,000 budget deficit. Chicago Public School (CPS) officials have also threatened potential layoffs of thousands of teachers if funding does not come through.
There are still several steps in the process before a strike can happen. City officials and union members will have to go through mediation before a strike can take place, which could take up to four months.
Last month, the union requested to begin the fact-finding phase of the process, but was denied. It has since filed an unfair labor practice claim with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. Once fact-finding begins, there must be a 105-day waiting period before a strike can begin.
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