(CBS News) Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Monday he is "disappointed" that the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike in Chicago, leaving public schools closed until a deal can be reached between the union and the city.
"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," Romney said in a statement released to reporters.
Echoing Republicans nationwide, Romney criticized teachers unions in general for putting "their interests" first.
"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," he said.
The Chicago teachers went on strike after the union and the city could not come agreement over issues of pay and student performance standards.
Romney also criticized President Obama in his statement for what he cast as having sided with the teachers union. Mr. Obama's former chief of stafff, Rahm Emanuel, is the mayor of Chicago and is thus on the opposite side of the negotiating table.
"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.'" Romney said.
White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reportes Monday that "our principle concern is for the students...and families affected by the situation."