Who has the power to force teachers back to work at their old salary? Chicago mayor? Illinois governor? USA president?

For how long can this be forced? E.G., is a 5-year effective suspension of the union possible with one person's executive order? Of course, teachers could still quit on their own at any time, so my question pertains just to the union's action.

I know laws could be rewritten at any time to allow anything, but let's assume that no law changes are ever made.

2 Answers 2


No one can order them to work. They obviously aren't there now. No, one person can not cancel out a union.


Unions having the right to strike is pretty basic stuff and has existed for many years. It's not going to change. It's a legal right.

  • The NLRB document explains that there are limits on the legal right to strike, and it's common in labor disputes that the employer will allege that the strike violates those limits and is thus illegal. If a judge agrees, they can AFAIK issue an injunction ordering the strike to end; if it persists, the employer may legally fire the workers. Oct 30, 2019 at 18:43
  • They can say the strike was not legal, yes, but the law points out that teachers would be punished by the hiring body. A judge can not force them back to work, but they can be fired.
    – Putvi
    Oct 30, 2019 at 18:45
  • 1
    I guess it all depends on what you mean by "force". But another question is whether the union can be penalized (fined, decertified, etc) for ordering an illegal strike. Oct 30, 2019 at 18:47

Illinois has a law governing strikes by public education employees. That law has various procedural requirements, and unfair labor practices by either side are prohibited. §16 allows an aggrieved party to apply for judicial review. In that case, the appellate court could order the strike to end (if there is a legal basis for that). That is, a judge can (theoretically) order teachers back to work. No executive has that power. Teacher strikes (public) are legal in Illinois, whereas they are not legal in a number of other large cities. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board could have filed for court action over a 1-day walkout in 2016 but it would have been moot. There's nothing suggesting that the current strike is illegal.

  • As a resident of IL, no judge can force a teacher's strike to end.
    – Putvi
    Oct 30, 2019 at 18:07
  • As a former resident of IL and having read the law, they can.
    – user6726
    Oct 30, 2019 at 18:15
  • Striking is a union right. They can not.
    – Putvi
    Oct 30, 2019 at 18:16
  • Section thirteen of that act describes the process for a strike and the recourse for not following those rules is discipline from the hiring body. A teacher is not a public safety officer who can be ordered to work.
    – Putvi
    Oct 30, 2019 at 18:21

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