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Chicago Teachers Union ratifies framework agreement for return to in-person learning

By staff

Chicago, IL – After midnight on Wednesday, February 10, the Chicago Teachers Union officially certified ballot results ratifying an agreement between the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that will provide a framework for returning to in-person learning in Chicago Public Schools. The vote to ratify the agreement passed by just over a two thirds majority. However, the union has been clear that they do not feel that this plan is what the teachers or students and community deserve. They say it is disgraceful that the Chicago Public School System could not delay reopening for a few weeks to ramp up vaccinations and preparations in schools, and that the mayor and CPS leadership were willing to do even further harm to the school district to maintain their posture. They say this is a stain on the record of the administration.

However, CTU also says that the agreement puts them in a vastly better position than they were in November, when even after months of struggle, the planning and preparation by CPS would have been laughable were it not also so dangerous. They say that school clerks and technology coordinators who had reported safety concerns for months will now have access to vaccines and enforceable safety measures that should have been in place before they had ever been asked to step foot back into the buildings.

A new safety committee will be created which the teachers say they will use to enforce the agreement and organize to ensure that CPS meets safety standards and mitigation protocols. The agreement also lays out gains on accommodations, vaccinations, delayed re-opening, school closing metrics, and more. CTU says that while they did not get what anyone deserves, they instead got what they were able to take through collective action and fighting hard, and that accepting this deal is a way to protect the progress they have made.

This agreement comes after many rank-and-file CTU members were locked out, docked pay or faced discipline as a result of the actions they took to keep people safe. CTU believes that those sacrifices made were a major factor in what made CPS finally negotiate and arrive at the agreement that is now ratified.

As CTU members were voting on the agreement on Tuesday, February 9, CPS began at last to reinstate the workers who they had locked out in retaliation for their collective action.

#ChicagoIL #PeoplesStruggles #ChicagoTeachersUnion #ChicagoPublicSchools #TeachersUnions #COVID19