Chicago’s teachers have agreed to suspend their strike and return to the classroom after more than a week picketing, effectively ending the stalemate with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over both teacher evaluations and job security.
Union delegates voted on Tuesday to suspend the strike after they discussed a proposed contract settlement that has been on the negotiating table for days, reports Yahoo! News.
Most of the delegates poured out to the South Side union hall while singing “solidarity forever.” They cheered, honked their horns, and yelled, “We’re going back.”
The majority of them were looking forward to getting to work on Wednesday and showed they were proud that their walkout yielded results. America Olmedo, who teaches fourth- and fifth-grade bilingual classes, stated:
“I’m very excited. I miss my students. I’m relieved because I think this contract was better than what they offered. They tried to take everything away.”
Mayor Emanuel has also called the settlement “an honest compromise,” which “means a new day and a new direction for the Chicago public schools. The mayor added that:
“In past negotiations, taxpayers paid more, but our kids got less. This time, our taxpayers are paying less, and our kids are getting more.”
The Huffington Post notes that CTU President Karen Lewis said in a press conference following Tuesday’s meeting that:
“We feel very positive about moving forward. People were actually elated to take the suspension of the strike vote…. We couldn’t solve all the problems in the world with one contract, so people voted to end the strike.”
Even through the strike is suspended, the contract is not yet signed. CTU’s 26,000 members will look over the document in the coming weeks to decide if they will accept the city’s proposals or not.