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CTU: Chicago Teachers Authorize a Strike if Contract Talks Break Down

Chicago teachers made clear they’re prepared to walk off the job for the second time in three years absent a deal with the city’s school board, presenting one more political challenge to Mayor Rahm Emanuel even though a potential strike remains months away.

The Chicago Teachers Union said on Monday that in three days of voting last week, 88 percent of 24,752 eligible members agreed to authorize union leaders to call a strike. That’s well above the 75 percent necessary for a strike to occur under state law.

CTU President Karen Lewis and her team now have the authority to brandish the biggest weapon the union carries in talks with the Chicago Board of Education, which have stalled after more than a year at the table.