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Chicago: Why is the teachers strike ongoing? (+video)

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Emanuel, who resigned as President Barack Obama's White House chief of staff to run for Chicago mayor in 2011, has shown no sign of backing down in the confrontation.

The mayor's chief negotiator, David Vitale, criticized the teachers as the talks recessed on Tuesday. "This is not the behavior of a group of people who are serious about helping our children," Vitale said.

Other Chicago unions closed ranks behind Lewis and the teachers. Randi Weingarten, the national president of the union representing Chicago teachers, appeared at a press conference flanked by local union representatives from nurses, janitors, transit workers and police officers to pledge support.

The union representing janitors said that if the strike is not settled within 48 hours, some janitors would stop crossing picket lines to clean schools where children are supervised.

A poll taken on Monday showed 47 percent of Chicago registered voters supported the union while 39 percent oppose the strike and 14 percent did not know. The poll by McKeon and Associates of 500 Chicago registered voters, has a margin of error of 3.8 percent, and was reported in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Patience tested 

With no sign of an early end to the strike, the patience of parents was tested as they juggled child care and work.

Many parents stayed home from work with their children on the first day of a strike affecting some 350,000 children.

Chicago school officials said only about 18,000 students took part in a half day of supervision on Monday at 144 public schools, where kids received breakfast and lunch.

One complaint from parents was that the centers closed at 12:30 p.m. On Tuesday, the school district announced that they would be staying open until 2:30 p.m. in future.

At New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in the violence-ridden East Garfield Park neighborhood, 26 children showed up on Tuesday compared with 14 on the first day of the strike.

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