Teacher Strike Will Force District to Spend $25 Million

AFT (AFL-CIO) teacher union officials have been picketing in Chicago district, allowing their industrial union roots to show.  With 400,000 Chicago school children being subjected to gaze at a giant inflatable rat, which is usually employed by the industrial unions, citizens must wonder where professionalism went. 

School board officials have set designated $25 million to ensure students will be taken care of and fed during the strike. 

Don Babwin and Tammy Webber, Associated Press, have the story.    

Teachers picketed outside a district office Wednesday in the shadow of a giant inflatable rat as school board members inside authorized spending $25 million in the event of the first Chicago teacher strike in a quarter-century.

Last week, the union began printing strike signs and made sure the media knew about it. On Monday, teachers started informational picketing at several elementary schools to make sure parents understood their issues _ and to keep the contracts in the spotlight.

A union spokeswoman even hinted that if an agreement isn’t reached, teachers might take their signs all the way to North Carolina to the Democratic National Convention, where Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to speak.

School Board spokeswoman Becky Carroll declined to release details of the contingency plan the board essentially green-lighted Wednesday that authorized the district to spend $25 million if teachers go on strike.

She said the plan, which officials have been working on for weeks, will include providing a “safe environment” for the district’s students and make sure the tens of thousands of students who rely on the schools for two meals a day will be fed during the strike.

Union officials say they’re still concerned about job security for teachers and other staff, wages and health benefits. They also don’t want to give anything away now, knowing it would be difficult if not impossible to reclaim anything in another contract.

Jeneen Lomax, who has one son who attends a public magnet school that focuses on science and math and one in private school, calls the possibility of a strike “devastating.”

“They need to be exposed to as much learning as possible,” she said.

So, who’s looking after the students interest here?