The Union has reached an agreement with Chicago Public Schools to rescind discipline issued or initiated against our members alleging they improperly communicated with parents about the district’s reopening plan during the 2020-21 school year.
Under the agreement, discipline rescission notices will be issued to impacted employees by August 20, 2021, and all records of the discipline in these cases will be rescinded and removed from the affected employees’ files.
What does this mean?
It means that you had Chicago’s back, and your union had yours. We fought, and we won. Again.
And let’s be honest. The alleged issue here was teachers, PRSPs, clinicians, counselors, case managers and librarians communicating with the families they serve about safety regarding returning to school buildings in a pandemic. Apparently, that a no-no for Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools, but not for us.
Talking to parents and families is what makes us strong. Being isolated and cut off from parents and families whose students we are entrusted to educate, care for and nurture is a divide-and-conquer tactic to tamp down school community concern. It’s this lack of transparency and trust that remains an issue for the mayor and CPS.
But without the work of our members, and our union, our city would have suffered many more COVID-related tragedies. The educators who CPS subjected to discipline for communicating with families were a big part of that. But we are a union that protects one another, and protects the students and families we serve, and that will never change.
This settlement is an important development for two reasons. First, it points to the importance of our rank-and-file members’ activism and willingness to speak out for the safety and best interests of their students, colleagues and families. It also demonstrates the Union’s commitment to defend members’ rights to do just that, and underscores the diligence and dedication of our bargaining team. We do not leave people behind — not now, not ever.
Second, the Union is hopeful that CPS’ agreement to rescind the discipline in these cases is a harbinger of good faith and collaboration as we bargain for a safe and equitable agreement for the Fall 2021 semester. We worked hard to ensure safety in the winter and spring. Keeping those measures in place, and building upon them for the fall, will keep us all safer.