Section 4 of the Act describes what issues the employer must discuss and what issues are prohibited from being strike worthy. Section 4 concludes that "Employers, however shall be required to bargain collectively with regard to policy matters directly affecting wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment as well as the impact thereon upon request by employee representatives." 115 ILCS 5/4.
Thus, Section 4 of the Act mandates collective bargaining on wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment. The employer can refuse to discuss other issues and the Union may not strike over them. See 115 ILCS 5/4 ("Employers shall not be required to bargain over matters of inherent managerial policy, which shall include such areas of discretion or policy as the functions of the employer, standards of services, its overall budget, the organizational structure and selection of new employees and direction of employees").
Section 4.5 governs what the CTU (or any collective bargaining unit in IL) may strike for and what issues the employer (CPS) may unilaterally prevent a strike on. 115 ILCS 5/4.5.
Together, with the news that the issues remain on ancillary points like school closures, principal rehiring powers, teacher evaluations, and not on wages or terms and conditions of employment, the strike seems vulnerable to an action by CPS in Cook County Circuit Courts (Chancery Division) for injunctive relief against the strike. While Union attorneys can point to disagreements on the length of the school day or, perhaps, their desire for a larger than 16% raise in the face of national economic turmoil, it is likely their earlier concessions that compensation was no longer an issue will be used to impeach such assertions. The fact that they admitted to being close on salary indicates to me that the issue was no longer in contention. The Union's repeated assertions that teacher evaluations and the recall of laid off teachers were key sticking points also buttress the fact that issues that cannot enable a strike are driving the strike.
Alternatively, there exists another legal ground to nullify the strike. With the tidal wave of violence across the city, CPS could also sue for an injunction based on the clear and present danger the strike poses to the health and safety of the city's public at large, but especially children in rougher neighborhoods with huge spikes in violence like the Grand Crossing and Ogden neighborhoods. 115 ILCS 5/13(b).
As the Act states "the employer may initiate in the circuit court of the county in which such danger exists an action for relief which may include, but is not limited to, injunction. The court may grant appropriate relief upon the finding that such clear and present danger exists." 115 ILCS 5/13(b). Not only could the CPS threaten injunctive relief, they could assert other damages, if any are present.
It seems that Mayor Emanuel wishes to resolve this dispute outside of litigation, but if this fiasco drags on, it would not surprise me to see CPS and Corporate Counsel attorneys collaborating on a lawsuit aiming to shut down the strike in one of these two ways.