Despite last night’s meltdown by the mayor, we have continued to work with the Chicago Public Schools team to land an agreement. Had that press conference taken place in any other arena, it would have ground labor negotiations to a halt. But we are back at the table with CPS because our members are committed to working collectively towards safety. This says a lot about our union, and how much we care for our own families and the families we serve.
We reached tentative agreements today with CPS on four key areas for the safe resumption of in-person learning. The interim agreements we reached concern:
- Health and safety protocols
- Contact tracing
- Safety committees
Every item here is a necessary part of moving us closer to a full safe reopening agreement. They also represent significant progress that is the direct result of your work, your pressure and the support you’ve received from families, electeds, clergy, labor and education partners, communities throughout the city, and President Joe Biden. And as usual, every item is subject to our union’s customary internal ratification process.
We still do not have agreements on the most critical issues at the table:
- Public health metric that would guide the safe reopening of schools
- Providing educators an opportunity to be vaccinated before they are required to resume in-person work
- A robust COVID-19 testing program for CPS students and staff
- Timing of resumption or phase-in of in-person learning
- Telework accommodations for educators with high-risk medical conditions or high-risk household members
- Improvements to remote learning for the vast majority of CPS students whose families have elected to keep them remote, and correcting unrealistic expectations around simultaneous hybrid/remote teaching
So in short, we are making progress, and we have TAs on four items because the team at the table for CPS is working on reaching an agreement. They also, however, have to manage the mayor, which we understand is a concern based on last night’s spectacle. The mayor is interested in winning an argument from the fall of 2019. We are interested in our safety and the safety of our school communities.
We saw fantastic coverage of today’s rallies and car caravans throughout the entire city, which is motivating our work at the bargaining table. The Remote-Work-Only resolution passed by CTU membership last week remains in effect, and we continue to fight for an agreement that will provide for the safe resumption of in-person learning for you and your school communities.