Striking Chicago school teachers march after a rally Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 in Chicago. Thousands of striking Chicago public school teachers and their allies packed a city park Saturday in a boisterous show of force as union leaders and the district tried to work out the details of an agreement that could end a week-long walkout.(AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired back at Chicago Teachers Union with legal action, after the union announced it would hold off voting on the proposed contract until Tuesday.
"I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union. This was a strike of choice and is now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children. Every day our kids are kept out of school is one more day we fail in our mission: to ensure that every child in every community has an education that matches their potential," Emanuel stated in a press release.
"I have instructed the City's Corporation Counsel to work with the General Counsel of Chicago Public Schools to file an injunction in circuit court to immediately end this strike and get our children back in the classroom. This continued action by union leadership is illegal on two grounds – it is over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children."
After a long weekend of hammering out language for a tentative contract, CTU announced it would "exercise their democratic process" by taking additional time to review the contract and would reconvene on Tuesday.
The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, and not Monday, because of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah. Which means students would not be back in the class room before Wednesday.
The thought of the strike going into a second week did not sit well with Emanuel or school board president Dave Vitale.
“There is no reason why are kids cannot be in school while the union reviews the agreement,” said school board president David Vitale at a press conference Sunday evening at City Hall. “As we said, this is a strike of choice. It has now become a delay of choice.”
CTU disagreed, and during the press conference Lewis pointed out the language of the contract was still being worked out.
"They're still not happy with the evaluation(s)," Lewis said. "They're not happy with the recall. They don't like the idea that people's recall benefits are cut in half."
But the injunction, which could order the strike to stop, argues those are not strikable issues.
Back in 1986 when an injuction was filed during a Metra strike, a U.S. District Judge ordered Metra workers back to work in 11 states.
NBC Chicago has an array of reporters and producers covering the Chicago teacher strike. Check our live blog for continuous coverage and updates throughout the strike.