Illinois Education Board to ask court to prevent teacher strike

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[April 22, 2016]    By Mark Weinraub
 CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) on Thursday voted to ask the state attorney general to go to court to prevent what it called illegal strikes by the Chicago Teachers Union in the future.

The move follows a one-day walkout earlier this month by the union, which represents 27,000 educators and support personnel in the third-largest U.S. public school system that is saddled with a $1.1 billion budget deficit.

"The Labor Board's important ruling gives Chicago families more certainty that the CTU leadership cannot strike illegally whenever they want," Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Forrest Claypool said in a statement.

The board voted 4 to 1 in favor of moving forward to seek injunctive relief.

"The governor's labor board is prosecuting its war on workers," the union said in a statement following the Board's decision. "The IELRB was ignoring decades of its own legal precedents."

Chicago Public Schools administrators called for binding arbitration on Wednesday to reach a contract and avoid a threatened teacher strike, which could happen as early as next month, but the union immediately shut the door on the proposal.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is pushing for a state takeover of the Chicago public school system.

(Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Tom Brown)

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