Below is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal…read and post your thoughts:
“…David Vitale, president of the Chicago Board of Education, who was at the negotiating table, said the city offered teachers a 3% raise the first year and 2% annually for the next three years—which would cost about $400 million.
“We believe we have been as responsive as we know how and within our financial capability,” he said during a late-night news conference. “This is not a small commitment at a time when our financial situation is challenged.”
The conflict comes amid broader tension during the economic downturn between public-sector unions and state and local governments trying to plug budget gaps.
The Chicago battle has pitted Ms. Lewis, one of the country’s抯 most vocal labor leaders, against Mr. Emanuel, one of its most prominent mayors and the former White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama. The Democratic mayor has made efforts to overhaul the city’s public education a centerpiece of his administration.
This is “a fight between old labor and new Democrats who support education reform, and it has been brewing for a long time in cities across the country,” said Tim Knowles, director of the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago, which conducts research on Chicago schools.
The two sides have negotiated for months over issues including wages, health-care benefits and job security.
The union didn’t publicly state its recent salary demands but had initially asked for 19% in the first year. The average Chicago teacher salary is about $70,000….”