Tags: Coronavirus | Education | Unions | teachers | strike | reopening | schools

Teachers' Union Warns of 'Safety Strikes' If Schools Don't Reopen Safely

empty classroom with orange plastic chairs and blue and gray desks and pinatas hanging from the ceiling
A classroom sits empty at Kent Middle School on April 1, 2020 in Kentfield, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 28 July 2020 01:15 PM

The American Federation of Teachers is threatening “safety strikes” if talks over reopening schools don’t meet demands for keeping teachers and students safe from the coronavirus.

Politico noted the AFT said “safety strikes” would only be a last resort.

“Let’s be clear: Just as we have done with our health care workers, we will fight on all fronts for the safety of our students and their educators,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said on Tuesday.

“But if authorities don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve, as our executive council voted last week, nothing is off the table — not advocacy or protests, negotiations, grievances or lawsuits, or, if necessary and authorized by a local union, as a last resort, safety strikes.”

Weingarten noted 76% of her union members had said in a June poll they were comfortable returning to schools provided proper safeguards were in place, according to Politico.

But with the virus surging again, it has sparked added concerns.

“Now they’re afraid and angry," Weingarten said. "Many are quitting, retiring or writing their wills. Parents are afraid and angry, too.”

The AFT, the country’s second largest teachers’ union, released a report last week outlining the cost to safely reopen public schools amid the pandemic.

About $262 billion will be needed to ensure students are socially distanced, according to the report.

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The American Federation of Teachers is threatening "safety strikes" if talks over reopening schools don't meet demands for keeping teachers and students safe from the coronavirus. Politico noted the AFT said "safety strikes" would only be a last resort. "Let's be clear: Just as we...
teachers, strike, reopening, schools, safety
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2020-15-28
Tuesday, 28 July 2020 01:15 PM
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