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COVID-19 outbreak at Namaste. Namaste is the most recent charter school with positive COVID-19 cases, which is not surprising since the school ignored science offering classes during the summer and then declared itself a safe haven. The school has been open, essentially, for day care each day. And it has been holding special ed classes during the outbreak. The charter had tried to keep the outbreak secret, only notifying those who work most closely with people who tested positive. Union members met this week to discuss next steps and, hours before, Namaste announced it would shut down the safe haven Nov. 17.

Progress in CICS negotiations. Nurses, office staff and deans have been negotiating their first contract at CICS Civitas.  After months and months with no progress, the union requested a federal mediator. It seems to have helped as bargaining is getting back on track. CTU members at CICS are clear that it will take a united rank and file to get a fair contract.

Strong Union, Strong Contract IHSCA. In order to comply with the CTU contract, Instituto Health Science Career Academy is in the process of hiring a psychologist in addition to the recently hired additional councilor and additional social worker. The union also has engaged the employer in initial talks about early retirement.

Fighting for Acero Special Ed and English Language Learners. CTU members at Acero received good news when three laid off special education apprentices were recalled from layoff. Members continue to fight for all laid off apprentices. Union leaders have started to organize parent and staff “Know Your Rights” trainings. And members also are organizing against racist cuts to the network’s ELL program. 

Charter Leaders Meet. CTU-ACTS Governing Board met Nov. 11. The Gboard heard reports about organizing new charter schools into CTU, fights around layoffs, members making plans for the next round of contract negotiations, plans for delegate elections and shared ideas about how to remain safe during COVID-19 times.