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Rahm Emmanuel and Mitt Romney Join Forces in Chicago: Why Unions May Become the Next Big Election 2012 Issue

The Chicago teachers union battle could possibly end up being the next big election 2012 issue. 

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday made the following statement on the strike by the Chicago Teachers Union:

“I am disappointed by the decision of the Chicago Teachers Union to turn its back on not only a city negotiating in good faith but also the hundreds of thousands of children relying on the city’s public schools to provide them a safe place to receive a strong education. Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet. President Obama has chosen his side in this fight, sending his Vice President last year to assure the nation’s largest teachers union that ‘you should have no doubt about my affection for you and the President’s commitment to you.’ I choose to side with the parents and students depending on public schools to give them the skills to succeed, and my plan for education reform will do exactly that.”

Ironically, Democratic mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had made similar marks on Sunday night, saying he would push to end the strike quickly as officials figure out how to keep nearly 400,000 children safe and occupied.

"This is not a strike I wanted," Emanuel said Sunday night, not long after the union announced the action. "It was a strike of choice ... it's unnecessary, it's avoidable and it's wrong."

A Democrat and a Republican, and both are anti-union.

Chicago teachers went on strike Monday for the first time in 25 years after their union and district officials failed to reach a contract agreement, despite intense weekend negotiations that the union said were productive but still failed to adequately address issues such as job security and teacher evaluations.

The educators have been locked in a struggle with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration over reforms to city education Emanuel wants to implement. The strikes have started just as the new school year has begun.

Close to 30,000 Chicago teachers went on strike in the nation’s third largest school district, according to their union.

Enter Romney. 

It's become clear that Republicans are looking to recreate some of the magic that helped them win in this summer Wisconsin recall election, which saw the conservative anti-public union Governor Scott Walker prevail against pro-union forces.

Some Republicans believe that the key to winning election 2012 hinges on using the same strategies — and policies — Walker used in the lead-up to his June 5 recall election. Since Walker championed an end to public unions, more conservative politicians have pushed his policies in their own states. Anti-public union policies have sprung up in states like Ohio, California, and Tennessee. Some analysts have thought that anti-public union policies would become the trademark of the Romney-Ryan campaign. 

public-sector trade union (or public-sector labor union) is a trade union which primarily represents the interests of employees within public sector (government-owned, supported or regulated) organizations. Public sector unions have become some of the larger or more influential unions in certain areas of the world in recent times due to easier corporate opposition to private-sector unions.

Such unions are highly controversial among conservatives who advocate for the downsizing of the public sector and blame public sector unions for running up large state deficits.

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