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Chicago Teachers Strike: CPS, Union Negotiations Continue Over Holiday Weekend

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Chicago school teachers demonstrate June 22, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Chicago school teachers demonstrate June 22, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The holiday weekend hasn't been much of one for Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools officials as their negotiations continue in an effort to reach a teachers strike-averting compromise.

On Saturday, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. addressed the possibility of a teacher walkout during a news conference at Rainbow PUSH, according to CBS Chicago.

"It will affect street safety — the impact could be disastrous," Jackson told the station of a strike.

Meanwhile, at the Black Star Project's annual back-to-school Million Fathers March Saturday, organizer Phillip Jackson said he hoped the city and union alike will focus on what is best for the students going forward, WGN reports.

"There’s an old African proverb that says ‘when elephants fight, it’s the grass that gets trampled, so in this case when the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union fights it’s the children who get trampled," Phillip Jackson told WGN.

On Thursday, the teachers union announced that their strike is set to begin Monday, Sept. 10, the earliest possible day union members could have chosen to stage a walkout. The union has been involved in a months-long standoff with the city over pay, class size and the longer school day.

"We have said from the beginning, we’re tired of being bullied, belittled and betrayed," Lewis told reporters Thursday.

The same day, CPS announced their contingency plan for a strike, including keeping 145 of the city's schools open for half days.

Reports have swirled that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not pleased with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard's handling of the ongoing negotiations between the union and the city, but the mayor's office said such rumors "couldn't be further from the truth."

The same day the majority of Chicago's students return to school Tuesday, Emanuel will be addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., a speech some thought the mayor would cancel amid the strike talks.

"If he's going to go to Charlotte, he better go make a speech and get back here pronto because he looks like he's taking his eye off the ball," journalist Laura Washington told ABC Chicago of Emanuel's DNC speech.

The teachers union is expected to stage a rally on Labor Day Monday in Daley Plaza.

Chicago teachers last staged a walkout in 1987.

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