CHICAGO (AP) — The head of the Chicago teachers union says delegates may have a lengthy debate about a new contract offer when they meet this afternoon.
The meeting comes two days after they refused to end their strike because they hadn't seen all of the details.
Today's vote isn't on the contract offer itself, but on whether to continue the strike. The contract will still have to be submitted to a vote of the full union membership before it's formally ratified.
Some union delegates have been taking straw polls of rank-and-file teachers to measure support.
A teacher picketing outside an elementary school today says he "desperately" wants to get back to his students and their lab experiments. Heath Davis says he's optimistic that today's vote could end the strike that has kept 350,000 students out of the classroom. But he says there are still concerns about the academic calendar, pensions and resources for special education, in addition to the issues of teacher evaluations and recalls of laid-off teachers.
The striking teachers have started to feel pressure to decide quickly on the tentative contract that is described as a good deal for the union by labor and education experts, and even some union leaders.
The city went to court yesterday looking for an injunction to force the teachers back to work. A judge has scheduled a hearing for tomorrow.
120-v-28-(Tim Maguire, AP correspondent)--A vote to end the Chicago teachers strike will be held this afternoon. AP correspondent Tim Maguire reports. (18 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *120 (09/18/12)>> 00:28
121-c-20-(Tim Maguire, AP correspondent)-"into the classroom"-AP correspondent Tim Maguire reports that some parents are growing weary of the Chicago teachers strike. (18 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *121 (09/18/12)>> 00:20 "into the classroom"
091-a-10-(Erica Weiss, Chicago parent, interviewed outside Skinner West school)-"be in school"-Chicago parent Erica Weiss says teachers should not be allowed to walk out. (18 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *091 (09/18/12)>> 00:10 "be in school"
092-a-10-(Jay Rehak, striking Chicago teacher, in AP interview)-"from these folks"-Striking Chicago teacher Jay Rehak says many teachers are upset that the new contract doesn't even restore a previously negotiated pay raise that they never received. (18 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *092 (09/18/12)>> 00:10 "from these folks"
GRAPHICSBANK: Chicago Teachers Union member wears sign along picket line during strike, Chicago, Illinois, graphic element on gray (18 Sep 2012)
APPHOTO ILMG102: Teachers picket outside Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, as a strike by the Chicago Teachers Union continues into its second week. CTU members in the nation's third-largest city will pore over the details of a contract settlement Tuesday as the clock ticks down to an afternoon meeting in which they are expected to vote on ending a seven-day strike that has kept 350,000 students out of class. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) (18 Sep 2012)
<<APPHOTO ILMG102 (09/18/12)>>