The Chicago Teachers Union voted to end its strike Tuesday, concluding an episode that put President Obama in a bind between siding with a major labor union in his hometown and Rahm Emanuel, his former chief of staff and the current mayor of Chicago.
The strike's end means at least 350,000 students who had not been attending Chicago public schools for a week will return to the classroom.
Even before the union went on strike, Emanuel had been working to try and find an agreement over a number of sticking points concerning pay and job security for teachers in schools that could close soon.
Nationally, the strike received attention for its location in Obama's hometown with, on one side, a labor union, a key voting bloc for the president, and Emanuel, a former top aide and a key member of Obama's reelection campaign, on the other side.
Mitt Romney also sought to use the strike to attack Obama. On the first day of the strike the Republican presidential nominee issued a blistering statement saying Obama clearly sided with unions and against the interest of students and families.
"I am disappointed by the decision of the Chicago Teachers Union to turn its back on not only a city negotiating in good faith but also the hundreds of thousands of children relying on the city’s public schools to provide them a safe place to receive a strong education," Romney said in the statement.
Because of the strike, Emanuel suspended his duties as a top fundraiser for super-PACs supporting Obama and Democrats. From the onset of the strike Emanuel had grumbled that his administration had been offering the teachers a fair deal.
Democrats on Capitol Hill and Obama were hesitant about weighing in on the dispute saying only that they hoped the unions and Emanuel's administration could work out a deal and end the strike. The White House refused to take sides in the strike saying through spokesman Jay Carney that Obama was "aware" of it and his "principal concern is for the students and families who are affected by the situation."