The Chicago Teachers Union began a three-day vote Wednesday to authorize a strike before heading into the classrooms.
CTU’s roughly 27,000 members will have until Friday to vote to strike, amid a threat of thousands of school layoffs across Chicago and a growing budget deficit.
Although the measure to be approved, that doesn't necessarily mean that Chicago teachers will be walking the picket lines. The strike authorization has been brought to a vote amid ongoing negotiations that so far have failed to result in a new contract.
State law requires a 75 percent vote in favor of strike authorization before any action can be taken. CTU’s president Karen Lewis says once they have the votes needed it will give the teachers new power in negotiations.
In a mock vote last month, teachers voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike, with 97 percent approval.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool has said the district could be forced to cut 5,000 job by February because of the state budget stalemate.
Lewis says if a strike were to happen, it would likely be in mid-March, but she's hopeful a new contract will be reached by then.