A reported 88% of Chicago Teacher’s Union members voted to authorize a strike, giving leverage to teachers in negotiation with the city over their contract — though a walkout isn't likely to occur until March.
At the same time, a ongoing budget issues in the city's public schools may mean that Mayor Rahm Emanuel will “be forced to lay off hundreds of teachers," the city's Fox affiliate reports.
The current teacher’s contract expired last summer, and no walkout can happen until further negotiations occur, which will likely take months.
In Chicago, however, a slow lead-up to the teachers strike included a projection of 479 teacher layoffs this summer, with an overall budget that had been reduced by 1%, and the “phasing out [of] district pension fund contributions for non-Chicago Teachers Union employees.” Chicago Public Schools were expected to “run out of money” this past summer.
At the same time, the city reportedly spent $18 million dollars on “legal and financial fees for the debt-refinancing and loan programs” run by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, some of which involved companies that may have conflicts-of-interest due to campaign financing issues.
In Seattle, a budget crisis and accompanying teacher’s strike has led to $100,000 in daily fines mandated by court order against the city, on the grounds that it’s made "lackluster progress" on attempts to reform how schools are funded.