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Mayor Gatsas called Rahm Emanuel about teacher strike

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told me today that he called Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday to offer his support for Emanuel's stance on the Chicago teacher's strike and to talk about the issue. He did not get hold of Emanuel. He left a message, and as of this afternoon Emanuel has not returned the call. Gatsas said he did not really expect a call back, as Emanuel has his hands full dealing with the strike and the two mayors have never met.

Chicago's teachers union is striking over teacher compensation, evaluation and retention. In Manchester, Gatsas has tried for years to get the teachers union to open its contract to increase the teachers' contributions to their health insurance costs. The increasing cost of employee compensation during a sluggish economy has caused the Manchester school district to lay off teachers. This fall, some classes exceed state recommendations.

As both mayors are dealing with tough budgets caused in part by generous teacher compensation, Gatsas wanted to talk with Emanuel about their experiences.

"I just hope he holds his guns," Gatsas told me.

He said some fellow Republicans questioned why he would call President Obama's former chief of staff to talk about the issue.

"If somebody can give me a solution to a problem, I'm willing to listen," he said.

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