Chicago's Unionized Public School Teachers Authorize Strike

The strike will occur this fall if the city's school system doesn't meet their demands, which are: A 20% pay raise, a 4% pay raise they claim was stolen from them, and then another 5% pay raise on top of that. Chicago has been on Time's list of America's most bankrupt cities since 2010.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel last year rescinded a four percent pay increase and pushed for a longer school day. CPS has since proposed a five-year contract which guarantees teachers a two percent raise in their first year and lengthens the school day by 20 percent.

"They asked for a 20 percent increase in our school day and year, so we asked for a 20 percent concomitant raise to that. They stole four percent of our raises from the last contract, so we asked for that. Then we asked for a five percent raise," said Lewis.

The new proposed school day would increase to 7 hours for elementary and 7.5 hours for higher grades, and would increase the school year to 180 days. Chicago currently has the shortest school day and school year of any major city, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The average Chicago teacher already makes just shy of $75,000 per year.  The average American works about 250 days per year, and Chicago public school teacher salaries put them in the range of attorney salaries, well above the city's median salary for full-time workers, $53, 518. Chicago public school administrators make, on average, $120,659.  The unions forced the strike vote to come ahead of a report in July which might have found ways to compromise.

Good luck, Rahm. Perhaps the mayor will have a Reagan moment this fall.