Report: Teachers union to continue strike

The Chicago public teachers union on Sunday decided to continue its strike into another week as efforts to craft a settlement feel short.

Union leaders declined to vote on a proposed contract settlement, The Associated Press reported, with union President Karen Lewis saying teachers wanted more time to discuss the offer.

“Our members are not happy,” she said. “They want to know if there is anything more they can get.”

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Reports said that the union’s delegates would meet on Tuesday, meaning that schools in the nation’s third largest school district would be unlikely to open before Wednesday. 

The walkout, which began last Monday and has kept over 350,000 students out of classrooms could pose a political problem for Democrats in an election year.

The labor fight pits teachers unions, who have been staunch supporters of Democrats, against the city’s Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former Obama White House chief of staff.

Emanuel has called the walkout a “strike of choice” and urged teachers to return to the classrooms and resume negotiations.

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney last week tried to tie the president to the strike, saying that Obama had chosen the side of the teachers unions. Romney said that he, however, would “choose to side with the parents and students depending on public schools to give them the skills to succeed, and my plan for education reform will do exactly that.”

The Obama campaign though dismissed Romney’s statement, accusing him of trying to score political points. “Playing political games with local disputes won't help educate our kids, nor will fewer teachers,” Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said.

Illinois Democrats have pressed both sides to reach an agreement quickly, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) urging both sides last week to “negotiate through the night if necessary.”