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Chicago teachers strike for first time in 25 years

Thousands of Chicago teachers walked off the job Monday for the first time in 25 years, after union leaders announced they were far from resolving a contract dispute with school district officials, the Associated Press reports. The walkout in the nation’s third-largest school district posed a tricky test for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said he would work to end the strike quickly.

“This is not a strike I wanted,” Emanuel said Sunday night, not long after the union announced the action. “It was a strike of choice … it’s unnecessary, it’s avoidable and it’s wrong.”

Some 26,000 teachers and support staff were expected to join the picket. Among teachers protesting Monday morning outside Benjamin Banneker Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side, eighth-grade teacher Michael Williams said he wanted a quick contract resolution.

“We hoped that it wouldn’t happen. We all want to get back to teaching,” Williams said, adding that wages and classroom conditions need to be improved.

Contract negotiations between Chicago Public School officials and union leaders that stretched through the weekend were resuming Monday…

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