The nations second largest teachers union is telling its members to go on “safety strikes” if their schools reopening plan doesnt meet the groups safety requirements.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the 1.7 million member-strong American Federation of Teachers (AFT), announced on Tuesday that the union has passed a resolution affirming support for any local chapter that decides to strike over reopening plans that are deemed unsafe.
During an online AFT convention, Weingarten blamed the Trump administration for pressuring schools to reopen amid the ongoing pandemic, saying it has left teachers and parents “afraid and angry.”
“If authorities dont protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve…nothing is off the table,” she said. “Not advocacy or protests, negotiations, grievances or lawsuits, or, if necessary and authorized by a local union, as a last resort, safety strikes.”
The AFT resolution calls on school districts to reopen only when the areas average daily community infection rate among those tested for COVID-19 is below 5 percent and the transmission rate is below 1 percent, a standard that could be difficult to meet. It also demands schools implement mandatory face covering for students and staff, 6-feet physical distancing, disinfection of facilities and buses, and special accommodations for teachers at greater risk of health problems if they contract COVID-19.
Weingarten also pledged to fight what the union considered “unsafe and unsound plans” through lawsuits and labor grievances. The AFTs Florida chapter filed a lawsuit last week against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in an effort to block the states emergency order to reopen schools in August. DeSantis, in response, argued that he wanted to make sure families have the option if they decide in-person learning is best for their children.
The AFT resolution comes as the latest _