On Friday, thousands of Chicago teachers will walk off the job, shutting down the nation's third-largest school district for one day in a strike of rare magnitude in the American labor landscape.
Organized by the Chicago Teacher's Union or CTU, the one-day action is in protest of "unfair working conditions." The 27,000-strong union has been without a contract since June, and the Chicago Public Schools system is facing a deficit of almost $500 million this year.
While the public schools system and the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel say the strike would violate laws dictating when strikes may occur — because the city and CTU are still in the fact-finding phase of contract negotiations — the teachers' union says the work stoppage is both legal and justified. CTU will be joined by activists from the #FightFor15 movement, which wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and other labor organizations.