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Emergency meeting for CTU body tasked with setting strike dates

Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union. | James Foster / Sun-Times

Even before the results of its second strike vote have been tallied, the Chicago Teachers Union has called an emergency meeting of the governing board authorized with setting strike dates.

Instead of waiting until the regularly scheduled Oct. 5 meeting, the House of Delegates will convene a week early on Wednesday, Sept. 28, CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said Thursday.

The special meeting for the body of about 800 would have just one item on its agenda, he said: What’s next in the contract process that began almost two years ago. The union’s full membership of about 25,000 has been voting since Wednesday on whether to authorize a strike and voting will conclude on Friday. Results will be announced sometime next week.

Will delegates set a strike vote? “Maybe,” Sharkey said. They also could set a later deadline for giving the state 10 days’ required notice of a strike, too, if a contract hasn’t been reached by that time, he said.

If delegates do vote to give notice right away, that could now make Oct. 11 the very earliest school day teachers could walk picket lines.

Coincidentally, that could put the second teachers strike since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took over smack in the middle of the first round of playoffs for the Chicago Cubs.

As Karen Lewis said earlier this month, when asked about the baseball schedule, “Look, there’s never any good time to strike. There’s never going to be any good time to not strike. So there’s going to always be some conflict with something. We will listen to what our members are telling us.”

Sharkey said talks with the Board of Education went well on Wednesday and were set to intensify to almost every day next week.

A CPS spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.