Chicago teachers and negotiators for Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed on a tentative contract clearing the way to end a strike and return 350,000 public-school students to classes on Monday.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and members of her bargaining team presented the deal to the organization’s more than 800-member House of Delegates at a union hall on Friday afternoon. They were greeted with applause and chants of “CTU! CTU!”
The delegates are expected to vote on the contract on Sunday, with the union rank-and-file considering it within the next couple of weeks while classes resume, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing a person close to the negotiations.
The strike was the most public show of resistance to Emanuel since the former chief of staff to Democratic President Barack Obama took office 16 months ago with a pledge to restructure operations of the nation’s third-largest city.
Lowering labor costs is central to Emanuel’s initiatives. Before the strike, the school district faced a deficit of about $700 million that was projected to rise to $1 billion next year. The terms of the tentative contract weren’t immediately available.
Teachers in the third-largest U.S. school system went on strike for the first time in 25 years on Monday after negotiating with the mayor since November over his efforts to lengthen the school day and year, as well as his school board’s decision to cancel a 4 percent pay increase. They were out for five days. In 1987, union members walked out for four weeks.
“We will remember you at the voting day,” read the sign carried by one picketer outside a high school where teachers protested Sept. 12.
© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.