Reporting from Chicago this afternoon on MSNBC, NBC News reporter Kevin Tibbles described yesterday's teachers union picket lines as "festive" occasions but worried that the mood may sour if an accord is not reached soon.
Yet while other media outlets have reported and confirmed that the Chicago teachers union had requested a 35 percent pay hike, Tibbles completely ignored the issue of pay, insisting the teachers union is concerned most with teacher evaluation policies.
"I did note yesterday that it was sort of a festive kind of atmosphere with the picketers on the street," Tibbles told MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell at 1:29 p.m. Eastern, adding that there were "parents bringing their kids" showing "support for the teachers," although he admitted there were "some" parents were "against the teachers."
"I am just wondering, the longer this thing drags on how long that sort of festive atmosphere is going to maintain itself, how long before people start to sort of ask angry questions," Tibbles added.
As I noted yesterday, Tibbles did not interview parents who were angry about the strike.
"In terms of progress" in the talks, Tibbles reported that city officials say they are "close to a deal" while union officials say "they are still far apart" with "the main one isn't so much money" but was "tied to this teacher evaluation, tied to test scores."
Yesterday, you may recall, Tibbles insisted that pay was not of concern to the striking teachers, although he never mentioned that on average, Chicago teachers earn $76,000-per-year.
The 35 percent pay hike figure hearkens back to an arbitrator's ruling back in July. As Rosalind Rossi and Maudlyne Ihejirika reported on July 16 for the Chicago Sun-Times (emphasis mine):
The independent fact finder’s recommendation that Chicago Public Schools officials have been pinning their hopes on to resolve a contentious teachers contract dispute is finally in — but Mayor Rahm Emanuel may wish it wasn’t.
The report essentially gives Emanuel’s school board a tough choice: dole out double-digit teacher raises in the first year of a four-year contract, or roll back the mayor’s signature longer school day and year effort.
Fact finder Edwin Benn found that CPS “caused this problem by lengthening the school day and year to the extent it did when it was having serious budget problems,’’ according to a copy of Benn’s long-awaited report reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Benn tied the longer day to a 12.6 percent raise in year one and combined it with a 2.25 percent cost-of-living hike and another 3.41 for extra years of experience. Over four years, the raises he recommended would total 35.7 percent.