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Teachers' Strike: Chicago's Just the Beginning

By Josh Eidelson, Salon - September 17, 2012

Seven days in, Chicago teachers are still on strike. Yesterday, elected delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union voted not to end the strike, opting instead to reconvene Tuesday after discussing a proposed contract deal with CTU's broader membership. Soon after their meeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he'll seek a legal injunction declaring the strike illegal and forcing the teachers back to work. So the next few days will bring either a resolution or a major escalation of Chicago's immediate crisis, which pits a famously strong-willed mayor against a local union intent on defying the "education reform" consensus.

This much is already clear: At a moment when teachers unions are everywhere on the defensive - from legislatures, to bargaining table to Hollywood - the teachers have wrung major concessions from the mayor. In the process, they revealed - and began to reshape - divisions in the education debate, in the Democratic Party and within the labor movement itself.

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