Chicago mayor: Teacher strike 'unnecessary'

September 9, 2012 - 11:54 PM
Chicago Teachers-Strike

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, members of the Chicago Teachers Union distribute strike signage at the Chicago Teachers Union strike headquarters in Chicago. The Chicago Teachers Union announced Sunday night that its 25,000 members will go on strike Monday morning, Sept. 10, 2012, for the first time in 25 years after contract talks with the school district failed over issues that included benefits and job security. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the strike called by the Chicago Teachers Union is "unnecessary" and unfair to the city's school children.

The mayor spoke shortly after union President Karen Lewis announced that the city's 25,000 public school teachers would walk the picket line Monday morning after talks with the school board broke down Sunday night.

Emanuel says the two sides disagreed mainly over two issues that could quickly be finished if the negotiations continued, and that the district's team was ready to start talks again at any time. He said the district had offered the teachers at 16 percent pay raise over four years.

The two sides have been negotiating for months. District officials plan to feed and monitor students at 144 schools throughout the city during the strike.