We all know it now: the strike is on.
Issues of pay were settled. Issues of longer working hours were settled. According to the Sun-Times, there are still two seemingly less important issues still on the table: re-hiring of laid off teachers and teacher evaluations.
"We do not intend to sign an agreement until all matters of our contract are addressed," CTU President Karen Lewis said. "We are committed to staying at the table."
Yep. There's a strike over evaluations that are tied into standardized test scores and rehiring of teachers who may be rehired anyway. Right now, 350,000 students are affected. Food and activities are only provided for the children from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. After that, they're turned out onto the streets if local churches and community centers are not available.
Because the remaining issues are less significant in comparison to the already tackled issues of pay raises and longer school days, the strike shouldn't drag on very long. But if it does, are replacement workers an option for the district?
The Illinois Strikebreaker Act reads in part:
"No person shall knowingly employ any professional strikebreaker in the place of an employee, whose work has ceased as a direct consequence of a lockout or strike, or knowingly contract with a day and temporary labor service agency to provide a replacement for the employee, during any period when a lockout or strike is in progress. Nor shall any professional strikebreaker take or offer to take the place in employment of employees involved in a lockout or strike. "
On it's face, the law seems to prohibit hiring temporary replacement teachers. However, the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court overturned the law back in 2006, finding that it was pre-empted by the Federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
Under the NLRA, temporary workers are allowed. However, they cannot be hired as permanent replacements if the strike is classified as an unfair labor practice strike. As we stated last week, the union already filed a grievance claiming unfair labor practices. If a judge agrees, Chicago Public Schools will be limited to hiring replacement temporary teachers. Even with sky-high unemployment, finding enough temps to cover 350,000 students is going to be a tall order.
Bookmark this blog and come on back for more legal news on the teacher's strike.
- Speak to a Chicago Employment Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Teacher's Unions and Collective Bargaining: Resolving Conflicts (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Making Sure a Strike Centers On Unfair Labor Practices (Labor Notes)
- Public Schools on the Verge of Insolvency Choose to Spend More (FindLaw's Chicago Employment Law Blog)