Chicago Teacher Strike Goes Into Second Day

Teachers return to the picket lines as union reps head back to the negotiation table

UPDATE: Negotiations continue Tuesday morning...

It's not clear how long Chicago's first teacher strike will last, but Chicago School Board president David Vitale on Monday night was optimistic about coming talks.

"We're not going to finish this today," Vitale said. "We should resolve this tomorrow."

Hours later, and despite a claim that a lot of progress had been made, Lewis sounded less confident.

"The board president hasn't been at very many meetings. He just sort of swooped down for -- I guess he's their closer, maybe. And so he, I think, has a very different view of the actual work that goes on."

Monday was the first full day of the teacher strike. While scheduled talks got started in the morning, they weren't as eventful as they could have been. Lewis arrived for the meeting about 90 minutes after the scheduled start. And when she did, she had little to say.

She later told reporters she was late because she wasn't feeling well. Still, it left Vitale frustrated and his colleagues frustrated.

"We're ready to go to work. We're disappointed that the urgency we feel doesn't seem to be shared on the other side," he said earlier in the day.

More than 26,000 teachers and support staff hit the picket lines Monday morning after talks broke down a night earlier. The move left more than 350,000 students in nearly 700 schools without classroom instruction.

As negotiations continued, thousands of teachers and their supporters marched through Chicago's Loop, congregating outside CPS headquarters and City Hall.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged officials to get the deal done so kids could go back to class.

"Stay at the table," he said during a visit to Maranatha Church. "Finish it for our children."

Lewis and CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey maintain that a major sticking point is are new evaluations procedures they contend would cost thousands of her members their jobs.

But Vitale said that's not the case.

"That is an inaccurate statement. There's no factual basis behind that, and frankly I think it's irresponsible to claim that," he retorted.

It does appear that while the union catalogs a litany of transgressions, they are in agreement that there are two main issues: evaluations and recall provisions for laid-off teachers.

"The reality is that teachers are the ones doing the work for the longer day. We've already agreed to that," said Sharkey. "We're the ones doing the work to improve the schools, and now we needed to be treated with the respect on the few remaining issues that we think would need to settle this."

Chicago teachers make an average of between $69,470 and $76,000 per year, second highest to New York City. Vitale said the deal CPS put on the table includes a 16 percent average salary increase.

Details of CPS Offer to CTU

The last teacher strike, in October 1987, lasted for 19 days. Prior to that, there had been nine strikes between 1969 and 1987.

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.

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