Chicago teachers are on strike for the first time in 25 years. The move leaves some 400-thousand students in the nation's third largest school district with no classes to attend today as teachers hit the picket lines. Nearly 150 sites are being set up across Chicago to offer kids a "safe environment, food and engaging activities" while school is canceled in a city that's seen a shockingly high murder rate this year.
The strike was announced late last night by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis who said negotiations were intense but productive however the two sides failed to reach an agreement that would prevent a labor strike. Lewis said while the union is committed to staying at the bargaining table, no union teachers will be in class today.
Lewis also said the two sides are not far apart on compensation but they are far apart when it comes to benefits. Teachers are expected to be walking the picket lines today, talking to parents, talking to clergy and calling for the school board to come up with a fair contract. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has expressed his disappointment with the development, calling it "a strike of choice."