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Members of the Chicago Teachers Union can strike if demands for a distance learning period are not met News

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Chicago Teachers Union favors shift to distance learning

Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin reports on teacher unions considering increasing precautions for COVID-19 in Special Report. ‘

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union may go on strike if their demands for negative coronavirus testing are not met for all students to return to class after winter break, or a two-week return to remote learning.

Over 90% of CTU members voted to participate in “a remote work action” as early as “the first week” after winter break if CPS “does not ask for a remote instruction period after 3pm. winter break, “according to a Wednesday press release from CTU President Jesse Sharkey.

The union presented Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with a proposal on Thursday calling for protections for COVID-19, including a “massive increase in testing” and negative COVID tests “for all students to return to class.” , or a two-week return to remote learning, says an email from Sharkey to union members.

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“At this time, it is up to us, all in solidarity, to ensure the safety of our members, our students and our school communities,” Sharkey said in the email. “committees Safety committees are the authority on safety in our schools. We can use them to regain control of our principals and CPS. But we need to organize in our buildings to prepare members for action if and when concerns are ignored. . “

Sharkey is encouraging members of the schools’ safety committee, which is made up of CTU members, to “engage in remote-only work until their safety concerns are met, as Carnegie members did in the early days. this month after a staff member died of COVID. ”

Students are escorted from Hawthorne Scholastic Academy to meet their parents after their first day of in-person learning on March 1, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson /)

It may be illegal for union members to strike under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act if “the union has requested mediation but has not completed it; the union has not given the employer an official notice of intent to strike or a 10-day notice; and a collective bargaining agreement is in effect, “according to the Illinois Policy of the nonprofit advocacy organization.

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Members of the CTU have gone on strike several times over the past decade. Before a planned strike last January, CPS Executive Director Janice Jackson told NBC Chicago that striking teachers would be “considered absent without a license” and “would not be eligible for future pay.”

Corey DeAngelis, national director of research for School Choice Now, criticized the move in a statement to Fox News.

“The union must be honest about what it is preparing to do. It is a strike,” he said. “They’re being misleading by calling it ‘a remote work action’ or a ‘school-wide operational hiatus.'” If employees are expected to report to work in person and they don’t, that’s a strike, not an action. remote work. “

Leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union list their demands and leave a box of coal outside the City Hall entrance on January 4, 2021. (Photo by Max Herman / NurPhoto via) ()

DeAngelis believes that if grocery store employees strike, “families can take their money elsewhere,” but “if public school employees strike, families should be able to take their children’s education dollars. Elsewhere.”

The union will discuss its proposal on a Sunday in town hall, held the day before CPS returns to school after winter break in January. 3.

Earlier this year, the union was involved in a school reopening dispute with the city that turned increasingly bitter before the two sides reached an agreement.

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“In January, members voted overwhelmingly not to return to the buildings and to continue teaching remotely until a safety agreement was established. Brave educators from across the city faced freezing temperatures, and possible disciplinary action, teaching outside while the Mayor was attempting to force students, educators and staff to return to unsafe school buildings, “the Union wrote in a year-long review article on its website. “The vast majority of families refused and stayed with distance learning for the rest of the school year.”

Chicago posted a daily rate of 145.6 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people this week, a 42% increase compared to last week, as the omichronic variant continues to spread across the US.

Despite the high positivity rate, however, deaths remain relatively low. Chicago had 3.6 hospitalizations and 0.4 deaths per 100,000 people. There have been an average of 3,940 positive cases and 10 deaths per day through December. 30.

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While positive cases have risen to their highest rate since the start of the Chicago pandemic, deaths are significantly lower than they were during the last surges in May and December 2020, as most residents Chicagoans get vaccinated. More than 64% of Chicagoans have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Greg Norman of Fox News contributed to this report.

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