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lightfoofstrike.jpg WLS-TV
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces that the city's classes have been canceled for Thursday.

Chicago cancels Thursday classes in anticipation of teachers strike

Negotiations are continuing, but the 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union are set to walk off the job Thursday.

The Chicago school district has canceled classes and activities formore than 300,000 students Thursday in anticipation of a strike by teachers.

WLS-TV reports that the cancellation comes as district negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union were continuing Wednesday.

Union leaders "have been very clear that they are going to recommend to their House of Delegates that the strike that was planned for tomorrow proceed," Mayor Lightfoot said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

The teachers union’s 800-member delegation is planning to vote on whatever deal is on the table after work Wednesday. That vote will be relayed to the union's 25,000 members.

The union's bargaining team said it will recommend to the union's voting delegates Wednesday afternoon that a strike is warranted, barring any breakthrough in talks. But top leaders of the union walked into those negotiations infuriated after hearing the mayor's news conference.

"If she cannot land a deal with teachers for public schools in Chicago, then you have to question her ability to get work done in this city," said union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates.

The mayor says the city has bent over backwards for teachers, offering them a 16 percent pay raise over five years and budging on class sizes and staffing issues.

The city says its budget can't support demands for banking sick time or funding a teacher's proposal for an additional $230 million in teacher pay over the life of the contract. Meanwhile, teachers say the proposals from the city on staffing and class sizes remain insufficient.

MORE: Read the school district's counterproposal to the teachers.

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