Emanuel, Under Fire in Chicago, Cuts DNC Trip Short

Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012 10:47 AM

By Patrick Hobin

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was scheduled for a weeklong series of TV appearances, speeches and receptions at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte but is now heading back to deal with a potential teachers strike and gun violence in Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Emanuel, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and former chief of staff for President Barack Obama, will fly to Charlotte to give a speech to delegates and return to Chicago the next day, the Sun-Times reported. He originally planned to stay at the convention for the whole week.

Pressure mounted on Emanuel to stay home and try to avert the city’s first teachers strike in 25 years. Emanuel’s communications director denied the pressure had anything to do with the change in plans and insisted that Obama’s campaign asked him to remain in Chicago to host a “watch party” to listen to Obama’s speech on Thursday night, according to the Sun-Times.

Emanuel’s change in plans comes after the Chicago Teachers Union made a strong showing at a Labor Day rally in Chicago and ratcheted up pressure for Emanuel to broker an agreement to stop a strike, the Sun-Times reported.

Thousands of teachers marched around City Hall on Monday, denouncing Emanuel as a liar and a bully. The Rev. Jesse Jackson also weighed in, saying, “A teachers strike is gonna affect a half million people. It’s gonna paralyze the city if it takes place,” Jackson said, according to the Sun-Times.

“The officials in Louisiana and Mississippi — once they declared they had an emergency, they prioritized the emergency. He [Emanuel] has two emergencies: One, the impending teachers strike, the other the killing rate in Chicago that has become the No. 1 news item in America. That requires all hands on site  management. Maybe if he comes and goes, he can take a breather,” Jackson said.
Barring a last-minute 11th-hour agreement, Chicago teachers were scheduled to walk off the job on Monday. The strike was fueled by their anger against Emanuel, who stripped them of a four percent pay raise and tried to implement a longer school day and school year.

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