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CTU President: Contract Talks Haven't Broken Down

CTU President Karen Lewis On 'At Issue'

(CBS) – Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis disagrees contract talks with school officials have reached the "acrimonious" stage.

She says meetings with public school officials have been very cordial and teachers have even been willing to take a pay freeze.

True, Lewis says, there have been sticking points but there have been no ideological lines drawn in the sand.

"We haven't gone anywhere near the things that could cause us to not reach an agreement. There are a whole lot of things we could have said 'absolutely not' -- to the freeze," Lewis tells WBBM's Craig Dellimore during a taping of "At Issue" that aired Sunday. "We could have said 'absolutely not' to that and called a big meeting at some hotel and taken a strike vote. We could have done that."

Instead, she says, the strategy is to "see what we can we work around."

"There are other things around the fringes," Lewis says.

Pension contributions remain a major issue, she says.

"At Issue" will air 9:30 Sunday night.

The CTU went on strike in 2012 after failing to reach an agreement with the Chicago Board of Education. The highly publicized dispute pitted Lewis against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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