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Chicago Teachers Vote to Return to Work

Date Added: September 23, 2012 Views: 45967 By: Alan Lam
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Hundreds of thousands of Chicago schoolchildren will return to class Wednesday after the teachers union voted to suspend its strike.

About 800 union officers and delegates met for just over two hours before there was an overwhelming voice vote to suspend the walkout, union leaders said Tuesday.


The contract agreement with the school system still needs to be ratified by the more than 29,000 teachers and support staff who are members of the union. Karen Lewis, union president, said the rank and file will vote in "the next couple of weeks."

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest U.S. school system, and the union struck a tentative bargain Friday afternoon. But on Sunday, union members decided to continue the walkout while they reviewed the proposal.

"Well, I think it is the best deal we could get at this moment in time," Lewis said before the meeting. Afterwards, she said there was no such thing as a perfect contract, and that not very member of the union would be pleased.

That included people like Benita Whitfield Shanklin, a social worker who voted no on Tuesday.

"I have two different feelings at the same time -- happy that we are so solid and we're a tight working unit," she said, "but at the same time I'm sad that we weren't able to make any progress on class sizes and the school closures. We have a lot of parents that were supporting us, and I feel like we let them down."

But parents and city officials will be happy to send about 350,000 children back to class after they missed seven school days. It was not immediately clear if the school calendar would be revised.

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