For those who asked why we were taking action AGAIN, why we don't just play nice and hope for the best, this is why: we have a right to safety, we need it in writing, WE KEEP US SAFE.
Chicago teachers have been through some hell these last couple of years, but it's never for nothing.
We had NO WRITTEN AGREEMENT about reopening mitigations last fall; the previous agreement expired, and CPS made clear they had zero interest in reaching a new one. All safety measures were tenuous and up to CPS.
When Omicron threw everyone for a loop, we rallied what felt like maybe the last round of energy and solidarity we might have ready, and we fought like hell to finally get an agreement in writing, including improvements to existing mitigations. That agreement -- the one for which we were locked out for four days, lost pay, and put up with another round of 'selfish, lazy teachers' rhetoric -- will now protect students, teachers, families, and our communities from the downstate ruling against mask mandates in schools.
The judge (who made lawyers remove their masks in her courtroom, so SHE seems neutral on this whole thing) couldn't void a collective bargaining agreement, and we wouldn't have one without our work action last month. For those who asked (in your heads or directly to me) why we were taking action AGAIN, why we don't just play nice and hope for the best, this is why: we have a right to safety, we need it in writing, WE KEEP US SAFE.
If you are interested in joining social justice union activism in the Chicago Teachers Union, go to https://www.coreteachers.org/join.
Nora Flanagan is a member of CORE and English teacher at Northside College Prep. You can follow her on Twitter at @noraflanagan
If you would like to highlight a CORE win, email us at [email protected]