CHICAGO, Nov. 5, 2020—Chicago Teachers Union Deputy General Counsel Thaddeus Goodchild issued the following statement regarding today’s Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board ruling that denied the Union’s request for preliminary injunction in bargaining over Chicago Public Schools reopening plans:
On October 16, Chicago Public Schools announced without notice to or bargaining with the Chicago Teachers Union that it intended to return 5,000 educators and 17,000 students in pre-kindergarten and special education cluster programs during the second academic quarter. The Union promptly filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge because the decision to resume in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic inherently deals with the health and safety of educators, and is a mandatory subject of bargaining.
Along with that unfair labor practice charge over CPS’ refusal to bargain, the Union requested a preliminary injunction of CPS’ unilaterally developed reopening plan while the ULP case proceeded to trial, unless CPS agreed to bargain with the Union over the criteria and conditions for resuming in-person instruction.
The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) today denied the Union’s request for preliminary injunction while the case proceeds to trial on the very narrow grounds that CPS hasn’t yet set a date for reopening — and hasn’t yet directed any teachers back — saying injunction would be premature. The acting chair of the IELRB said that the denial comes with the caveat that she believes the IELRB should revisit the injunction request if CPS sets a reopening date or directs teachers back without bargaining.
While we are disappointed that the IELRB declined to issue an injunction today, we are encouraged by the narrow basis for the denial. We will continue to press CPS to meet its legal obligations to bargain over the criteria upon which the decision to resume in-person learning will be made, and the health and safety measures that must be in place before that decision is made.
We hope CPS, at long last, will work with CTU educators as partners in this endeavor. If it does not, we will be back and the IELRB and take every action necessary to protect the rights, health and lives of our school communities.