Thousands of Chicago public school teachers took to the streets on Saturday in protest, marching to keep the pressure on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to finish up a deal with the union this weekend so that school can re-open on Monday. The rally, called "Standing Strong with Chicago Teachers Rally" was likely the largest demonstration since the strike began last week, because it came on a weekend.
Close to 30,000 teachers and staff marched to draw attention to the importance of public unions and celebrate Chicago's teachers. The teachers have been on strike since Monday of this past week, after they failed to reach a deal with Mayor Emanuel over issues including teacher salary, performance evaluations, and job protection.
The teachers have reportedly reached a tentative agreement with the Mayor which could lead to an end to the strike, though details have yet to be released. Protesters are hoping that the School Board and union will reach a final agreement this weekend, so 350,000 students can return back to school on Monday.
Ironically, the strike comes one day after a Wisconsin judge ruled that Gov. Scott Walker's budget which prevents public unions from exercising their collective bargaining rights is unconstitutional. That decision sets up a looming challenge in the neighboring Midwest state over the power of public sector unions.
PolicyMic's Laura Mays is a teacher in Chicago public schools and attended the rally. Here are a number of the photos she captured: