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Q & A: What’s next in teachers strike

Updated: October 19, 2012 6:22AM

Q: When will the Chicago Teachers Union strike end?

A. No one knows for sure. But parents have two chances in the next two days to see the strike end. The union’s House of Delegates could vote Tuesday afternoon to suspend it, or a judge on Wednesday could grant a city motion and halt it.

Q: If the two sides had a deal, why didn’t the House of Delegates call off the strike Sunday?

A: They had the “framework’’ of a deal. The delegates wanted to see more written contract language and get feedback from the teachers they represent before deciding to lift the strike. The roughly 800 delegates will have that chance at a meeting that begins at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Q: What if delegates vote Tuesday to continue the strike?

A: Teachers will continue to picket their schools Wednesday, but also that day, a judge will consider the city’s request for an injunction to halt the strike.

Q: What will the judge do Wednesday?

A: He will hold a hearing. However, he could hold off ruling for a day or two. Or, he could rule on the spot.

Q: How might he rule?

A: He could grant the city’s motion for an injunction and halt the strike. He could deny the motion, allowing the strike to continue. Some experts say he could kick half the decision — about whether the union is striking over strikeable issues — over to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. That would leave him to rule on the city’s argument that the strike qualifies as a “clear and present danger to the health or safety of the public” and therefore should be halted.

Q: What if the judge ends the strike? Can the teachers union appeal?

A: Yes, but picketing would end and classes would resume.

Q: Meanwhile, the full membership still hasn’t approved the contract. When does that happen?

A: It could take a few weeks for materials to be ready for them to vote on, and then more than a week for the votes to be counted.

Q: What if the strike is halted but the CTU membership rejects the contract? Could there be another strike?

A: Technically, yes, but unlikely, experts say.

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