Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, has been in the national eye a lot this week as a teachers’ strike in the city wears on into week two with no resolution firmly in sight.
According to the Washington Post, Mayor Rahm Emanuel initiated legal action against the strike, contending the action was “illegal on two grounds – it is over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children.”
The Post examines Rahm Emanuel’s two main claims — one, that the strike harms children, and two, that the issues over which the strike began (myriad) are not strikeable issues. In their analysis, they note significant wiggle room both for teachers to rightly strike and also to be sanctioned depending on interpretation of the law.
While the debate rages and parents are left in the lurch to make alternate childcare arrangements, lawyers for Chicago Public Schools filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court this morning to obtain an injunction to prevent the teachers’ strike from continuing further.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a motion filed to end the strike contends that under state law, the strike is illegal due to the threat posed to children by conditions created in the strike:
“State law expressly prohibits the CTU from striking over non-economic issues, such as layoff and recall policies, teacher evaluations, class sizes and the length of the school day and year … The CTU’s repeated statements and recent advertising campaign have made clear that these are exactly the subjects over which the CTU is striking.”
Per the Tribune, the motion goes on to claim the strike is “a clear and present danger to public health and safety. It prohibits students from receiving critical educational and social services, including meals for students who otherwise may not receive proper nutrition, a safe environment during school hours and critical services for students who have special needs.”
Starting today, Chicago Public Schools began offering activities and meals to children affected by the strike in schools, libraries, and churches.