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Chicago Teachers' Strike Resolved

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A settlement between the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union and 17 other school-employee unions brought 434,000 Chicago public-school students back to classes Dec. 17, two weeks after a strike over money sent them home.

The settlement marked the end of Chicago's seventh teacher strike since 1969 and its second in two years.

The school board agreed to a 4.5- percent pay increase for school employees, effective Dec. 17, and a one-time bonus of 2.5 percent to be paid in March.

"It is a good settlement, in our opinion," said Chuck Burdeen, spokesman for the teachers' union. He estimated that the raise would bring the average teacher's salary in Chicago to about $27,500 a year, up from $26,200.

The teachers and other school em-ployees had been working without a contract since Sept. 1 because ongoing talks between school and union officials during the summer and fall failed to resolve disputes over salary and health benefits.

In October, tensions among the negotiating parties were sharply heightened when the board announced that it would require the school system's employees to pay up to 30 percent of their medical-insurance premiums beginning in November.

Teachers and other employees threatened to strike after the board began the medical-premium deductions and still refused to increase salaries, citing the school system's precarious financial situation. The board backed away from the plan on the eve of the strike, promising instead to increase salaries and to reimburse employees for the insurance contribution already withheld from their paychecks in November.

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