The war of words between Chicago public school teachers and Mayortook another turn on Sunday as the teachers union announced to extend their strike and the mayor threatened that he would go to court to put an end to the impasse.
"This was a strike of choice and is now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children," the mayor said, according to SF Gate. "I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union.”
The Chicago Teachers Union went on strike over pay, job security and teacher evaluation provisions. The mayor declared the strike illegal and said he would seek a court order to end it.
Reports suggest that the Chicago teachers, who are uncomfortable with a provisional contract offer, also said that they required more time to mull over whether to conclude a bitter confrontation with the mayor that will carry on keeping 350,000 students out of school for some more days.
Analysts believe that the strike has the potential to widen a crack inside the Democratic Party between education reformers including Emanuel, a former aide to President Obama, and a well-managed labor, which the president needs to win the upcoming election. Moreover, the recent threat from the mayor has increased hostility within Obama's political alliance as the election approaches.
According to Chicago union President Karen Lewis, around eight hundred union members congregated on Sunday and settled on consulting with rank-and-file members prior to voting on whether to end the protest.
"There's no trust (of the school district and mayor)," Lewis said, according to Reuters. "So you have a population of people who are frightened of never being able to work for no fault of their own."
Lewis also said teachers would like to have the opportunity to talk about the offer that is on the table.
"Our members are not happy," Lewis said, according to USA Today. "They want to know if there is anything more they can get."
Chicago teachers are reportedly among the highest paid in the US with an average pay of $76,000. The newly outlined contract offers yearly raises, but it does not reinstate a 4 percent increase that was withdrawn by the mayor in 2011.