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Moving on after the Chicago teachers' strike

A sign supporting teachers sits in the window of a home across the street from the Jose De Diego Community Academy on September 17, 2012 in Chicago, Ill.

When a fight gets this ugly, it’s tough to move on.

In a voice vote yesterday, delegates for the Chicago public school teachers are suspending a seven-day strike in the nation's third-largest city, a move that will send thousands of children back to their classrooms.

"I don’t think that the parties really recognize that at the end of the day, after an agreement is reached, they have to learn to live with each other," says Gary Chaison, who teaches labor relations at Clark University.

For him, collective bargaining is about more than negotiating one contract. "Collective bargaining," he says, "is about establishing a relationship that you can work with in the future."

Chaison thinks that the city and union will need to sit down for a long meeting in neutral territory -- and play nice. They’ll also have to patch things up with parents and students.

One area parent, artist Jenny Magnus, has a fifth grader who has been attending a "strike camp" that Magnus and her husband have been running at a Chicago theater.

Magnus hopes teachers will talk about the strike with their students. "What do you think about it, children? How do you feel? What’s it been like for you? Are your parents upset?" she cites as examples.

Magnus supports the union, but says she’s tired of the nastiness from both sides.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.
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