MTEA's president compares Chicago teachers strike to Wisconsin's Capitol chaos
WTMJ News Team
Lacey Crisp reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
CHICAGO- Nearly 400,000 students in Chicago had no school Monday, because their teachers are on strike.
Negotiators are trying to end the first walkout by Chicago teachers in 25 years. They are fighting over salaries, benefits and job security.
The scene in Chicago Monday may look familiar to Wisconsinites, who had a similar battle about a year and a half ago.
Bob Peterson, president of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, argues the two fights aren't that different.
"The Chicago Teachers Union is fighting like we were for the learning conditions in the schools," said Peterson to TODAY'S TMJ4. "What I see both in Wisconsin and in Chicago is that people are saying 'no.' Parents, students, teachers, should be at the center of policies that are going to affect the learning in our schools."
But there are a couple of differences, teachers in Wisconsin are not legally allowed to strike, and the Chicago teachers union is fighting a Democratic mayor instead of a Republican governor.
"Don't take it out on the kids of the City of Chicago if you have a problem with me. That's wrong. Our kids deserve better," said Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel argues the two sides are close to an agreement, and the teachers should not leave the classroom and hit the streets.
"This is in my view a strike of choice and it is the wrong choice for our children. It is not necessary, we need to just finish the job given all the work that's gone in. We need to make sure kids continue to get the education they need that is essential for them to have a bright and positive future."
If the strike continues -- TODAY'S TMJ4 reports that some teachers in southeast Wisconsin will spend the weekend demonstrating in Chicago with the striking teachers.