Teachers in Chicago inch closer to possible strike… Autoworkers cross janitors’ picket lines…

Teachers in Chicago inch closer to possible strike

CHICAGO (AP) — Teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district are inching closer to a strike that could happen as early as next month.

After rejecting the district’s latest offer, Chicago educators are back at the bargaining table negotiating issues including pay, staffing shortages and class size. The dispute follows teacher strikes this year over similar issues elsewhere, including in West Virginia, Denver, Los Angeles and Oakland, California.

Full Coverage: Strikes

Chicago’s last major teachers strike was seven years ago, but the tone, issues and financial backdrop this time around are totally different. Still, shutting down roughly 600 schools could create major hassles for nearly 400,000 students and their families.

Here’s a look at the situation:

WHAT ARE TEACHERS DEMANDING?

The Chicago Teachers Union, which represents about 25,000 educators, argues that the district has repeatedly shortchanged schools over the years by cutting budgets. That has led to cutbacks of critical staff members, including nurses and librarians.

The union wants a nurse and librarian at every school, more social workers and class size limits that are strictly enforced.

As for pay, the union wants a three-year contract with annual pay raises of 5% and a rollback of employee health care contributions that were raised in a previous contract.

Emotional autoworkers cross striking janitors’ picket lines in Flint

FLINT — In an emotional scene Sunday morning, UAW autoworkers passed picketing janitors represented by the same union just hours after the maintenance workers went on strike in an escalation of already-tense contract talks.

“This isn’t what solidarity looks like,” one autoworker said as he dropped off food to the janitors before reporting for his shift, which started just before 7 a.m.

The autoworkers are General Motors employees and the UAW told them to report to work Sunday even though the union’s contract with GM expired at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. The union’s leadership was to meet at 10 a.m. Sunday in Detroit to decide on next steps.

The janitors work for Aramark, with which GM contracts for maintenance at five plants in Michigan and Ohio. About 850 UAW-represented Aramark workers sent on strike at midnight.

Some 46,000 General Motors auto workers strike in US

Detroit (AFP) – The United Auto Workers union began a nationwide strike against General Motors on Monday, with some 46,000 members walking off the job after contract talks hit an impasse.

The move to strike, which the Wall Street Journal described as the first major stoppage at GM in more than a decade, came after the manufacturer’s four-year contract with workers expired without an agreement on a replacement.

Local union leaders met in Detroit “and opted to strike at midnight on Sunday,” the UAW said on its Twitter account.

“This is our last resort,” Terry Dittes, the union’s lead negotiator with GM, told a news conference after the meeting. “We are standing up for the fundamental rights of working people in this country.”

UAW national strike against GM begins as union backers flood into Flint

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