CPS will only engage in mediation if they can walk away at any time, have no obligation to negotiate, are free to make decisions with no input from educators, parents, school communities.
CHICAGO, Nov. 10, 2020—The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today regarding CPS’ response to the Union’s request for mediation:
The Mayor and her hand-picked Board of Education have lacked transparency, broken the law, unnecessarily risked our health and caused additional COVID infections in our communities. Despite that, the CTU still asked for mediation in hopes that it will help us reach an agreement, deescalate a volatile situation, help improve relations, and critically, strengthen both remote learning and safety in our school communities.
The Mayor’s Board has responded that it will only engage in mediation if CPS can walk away at any time, has no obligation to negotiate, and is free to make decisions without the input or voice of educators, parents or school communities at any point. CPS is willing to meet with a mediator if the CTU will sign off that it is 100% up to CPS to decide when to return to the buildings, what protections are in place, and when students, staff and schools are “safe enough.”
The CTU asked for a mediator to help both sides reach an agreement. CPS says instead it will mediate only if it means CPS has no obligation to reach an agreement.
This move comes on the heels of an admission in bargaining today by CPS’ lead contract certified industrial hygienist that he was not asked to provide his professional opinion on whether CPS school buildings are currently safe for the resumption of in-person learning, and therefore did not provide one. That’s a stunning admission that CPS does not, in fact, know if our school buildings are safe — when more than one in five has now surfaced COVID infection just since the school year began and before students begin returning in larger numbers.
CPS also said today in bargaining they would be providing no COVID-19 testing, unlike the protocols in place in large school districts like Los Angeles. Instead, CPS representatives say they ‘view schools as essential services, and we view the science as saying that schools do not contribute to the spread of COVID, and unless the virus is surging, schools should be open’.
The virus is surging. And under any and all conditions, reopening must be done safely. We will stand for nothing less.