Chicago Public School Teachers on Strike
For the first time in 25 years Chicago Public School teachers will be walking the picket line.
The more than 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union are now on strike.
The union rejected the latest contract offer from Chicago Public Schools late Sunday night.
"Negotiations have been intense, but productive, however we have failed to reach a agreement that would prevent a labor strike," union president Karen Lewis said.
Board president of the Chicago Public Schools David Vitale says 20 offers to improve the contract have been offered in the past week.
"At this junction, it is clearly their [the union's] decision about what to do for tomorrow. We've done everything we can," Vitale said before the union's decision was announced.
Lewis reiterated the union's argument that the discussion were not just about teacher compensation, but the overall educational environment.
"We must do things differently in this city if we are to provide are students with the education they so rightfully deserve," Lewis said.
Lewis says the two sides are not far apart on pay, but benefits are a continuing issue.
"In the morning no CTU members will be inside our schools, we will walk the picket line," Lewis said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a late Sunday night press conference said there are only two issues left to work out, neither is financial.
Emanuel said it was necessary to give local principals the power to hire their choice of teachers, and not have to answer to either the union or CPS headquarters.
The second issue is teacher evaluations and how they will be implemented and carried out.
"Neither one of these issues are allowed to be strikeable by law, but these are the final two issues," Emanuel said.
Updated at 11 p.m.