Teachers union on strike in Chicago -- for the children!

I'm sure it's better for the children this way.

Chicago's teachers set up picket lines this morning after talks with public school officials ended over the weekend without resolution.

"Rahm says cut back, we say fight back," picketers dressed in red T-shirts chanted this morning outside Chicago Public Schools headquarters.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced late Sunday night that weekend talks had failed to resolve all the union's issues.  “We have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike,” she said. “No CTU members will be inside of our schools Monday.”

 After an all-day negotiating session Sunday, school board President David Vitale told reporters the district had changed its proposal 20 times over the course of talks and didn't have much more to offer.

 “This is about as much as we can do,” Vitale said. “There is only so much money in the system.”

The district said it offered teachers a 16 percent pay raise over four years and a host of benefit proposals.

 “This is not a small commitment we're handing out at a time when our fiscal situation is really challenged,” Vitale said.

 Lewis said the two sides are close on teacher compensation but the union has serious concerns about the cost of health benefits, the makeup of the teacher evaluation system and job security.

 With a strike, CPS will put its contingency plan in effect, opening 144 schools to students from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. But parents are being urged to find alternatives and use the schools only as a last resort. The city's 118 charter schools are not affected by a strike.

All emphasis mine. This hits several of my hot buttons: government-worker unions, government education, charter schools. Via Teachers union on strike in Chicago - chicagotribune.com.