Teachers apparently are ready to start the countdown to what could be the first strike in Chicago in 25 years.
The Chicago Teachers Union announced plans to file a 10-day strike notice on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The timing means that teachers could go on strike not before Sept. 10, after the first week of classes, although it doesn't guarantee they will, even if negotiations are still ongoing.
Chicago Public Schools said Wednesday the statute requires the union to present a letter in writing indicating plans to strike. Only then will the 10-day countdown begin.
Karen Lewis Makes Her Case
Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard met with a group of principals Wednesday at Brunson Elementary, where they discussed the longer school day.
"This 10-day notice will put pressure on our kids and our families which we don't need, but we've been very serious about coming to a resolution as quickly as possible for this contract," Brizard said.
The teachers have been working without a contract since June, and negotiations have been slow. Teachers held informal pickets at area schools last week.
Both sides have been gearing up for a possible strike since last week, with CTU delegates authorizing president Karen Lewis to issue the strike notice, and the school board authorizing $25 million in spending if a work stoppage were to occur.
In the last couple of days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has indicated he may step into the picture and try to hammer out a deal, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Negotiations seemed to have picked up a few weeks ago when the two sides reached an agreement on hiring new teachers to allow for a longer school day. That issue once seemed to be the biggest roadblock to a new contract, but the bargaining and posturing has not let up as the two sides come down to the last few weeks before 400,000 Chicago students are all back in public schools.
CPS released a statement saying that kids belong in the classroom with their teachers, which is why they plan to "stay at the table and keep negotiating, every day if needed."