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Negotiations between teachers union, Chicago School Board down to the wire (+video)

Almost 30,000 teachers and staff members could strike Monday if a deal is not struck between the teachers union and the school board in Chicago. The strike is over proposed reforms by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

By Mary WisniewskiReuters / September 9, 2012

Teachers and pro-teacher community groups rally in front of a building the Chicago Teachers Union has designated its strike headquarters on Saturday in Chicago. The union has vowed to strike on Monday if an agreement over teachers' contracts is not reached with Chicago Public Schools by Monday.

Sitthixay Ditthavong/AP



Negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and the nation's third-largest school district were going down to the wire on Sunday, as teachers threaten to strike on Monday over Mayor Rahm Emanuel's demand for sweeping school reforms.

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Both sides expressed varying degrees of optimism on Saturday night about chances for a resolution, although school district officials sounded more hopeful than union leaders. School board President David Vitale said he thought the district's latest proposal was "very close" to what was needed for a deal. Talks resume on Sunday morning.

Some 29,000 teachers and support staff could walk off the job on Monday, setting up a confrontation between Emanuel, President Barack Obama's former top White House aide, and organized labor in the president's home city.

Parents have been scrambling to find alternate arrangements for students, and community leaders have begged both sides to come to an agreement and keep children in school.

"We can't afford to have young people in harm's way," said Cy Fields, senior pastor of New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, located in a violence-torn community on the city's west side. The church plans a pro-education rally on Sunday morning, and is among about 60 churches planning to take in children for safe activities if teachers strike.

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