Politics

Leader of Chicago Teachers Union tells members not to tell school districts when they get vaccinated

The leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union has urged its members not to inform district officials if they have been vaccinated.

The district opened its door this month to thousands of pupils from kindergarten through to eighth grade after terse negotiations that dragged on for weeks. The school district and the union locked horns over whether they should return to in-person teaching after months of online learning. The unions’ main argument was that the district has provided inadequate safety protocols. In the district itself four vaccination sites have been set up with the capacity to schedule 14,000 appointments as of Sunday, the sites also confirmed that they delivered just over 5,600 vaccinations as of that same day.

However district officials are now having trouble tracking the number of teachers who have received vaccines because they are unable to tell how many have received treatments at non-CPS sites. When the president of the CTU Jesse Sharkey was asked about this, he simply replied “We don’t have the best information.” Collecting the best data has been made harder because the union has asked its members to wait before responding to a CPS vaccination survey. Sharkey went on to say that he doesn’t “have a problem with people answering this kind of survey,” but that the real issue with the survey was the “CPS {Chicago Public Schools} not bargaining it with us.” Last week Sharkey said that he believed 11,000 of the union’s 25,000 members had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has also got involved in the on-going battle, last month she said that her office had maintained peace with every union apart from the Chicago Teachers Union and the Fraternal Order of Police. In a New York Times interview she said of the teachers union “When you have unions that have other aspirations beyond being a union and maybe being something akin to a political party, then there’s always going to be conflict.” The mayor went on to say that the union wanted to “take over not only Chicago Public Schools, but take over running the city government.” With those in the ninth through to 12th grades scheduled to return to school on April 19th it would seem that the district is determined to forge ahead regardless of the CTU’s uncooperative position and intentions.

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ARTICLE: NATHAN REID

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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