CHICAGO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Sunday he will seek a court order to end a weeklong strike by 29,000 public school teachers and staff after union leaders decided to continue the strike and consult rank-and-file members on a proposed deal.
“I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union. This was a strike of choice, and is now a delay of choice, that is wrong for our children,” Emanuel said in a statement.
“I have instructed the City’s Corporation Counsel to work with the general counsel of Chicago Public Schools to file an injunction in circuit court to immediately end this strike and get our children back in the classroom,” Emanuel said.
“This continued action by union leadership is 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,” Emanuel said.
The strike, which began on Sept. 10, has affected 350,000 kindergarten, elementary and high school students in the nation’s third-largest school district. Negotiators on Friday said they had reached a “framework” agreement over contentious issues pushed by Emanuel, including teacher evaluations and school closures. But several hundred union delegates meeting on Sunday refused to vote in favor of ending the strike.