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Chicago teachers may test unions' 'social justice' strategy

CHICAGO — A threatened strike by Chicago teachers would test a strategy employed by a growing number of urban teachers unions convinced that transforming contentious contract talks into discussions about class sizes and student services wins public support and can be a difference maker at the bargaining table.

Unions in left-leaning cities including Los Angeles have used that approach this year, emboldened by attention-grabbing teacher walkouts and protests in 2018 in conservative states.

City officials, though, argue contract talks are meant for employee wages and benefits, not questions of staffing or affordable housing.

Talks are continuing ahead of Thursday’s strike date in the nation’s third-largest school district.

If Chicago teachers strike, experts say educators around the country will be watching to see whether their strategy is successful.

Kathleen Foody, The Associated Press