Chicago teachers union polls members on remote learning, work stoppages

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

A meeting for Chicago Teacher Union (CTU) members will be conducted via Zoom this evening. The topic for discussion is whether or not teachers support remote learning and possible work stoppages as students return from Winter Break in January. Before the meeting, teachers are asked to fill out a survey.


The survey asks if teachers would support a shutdown due to the rise in Omicron variant cases and concern over school health safety policies. The survey, titled “Possible Actions for Safety January 2022”, offers options if the safety demands are not met.

What actions would you participate in to force CPS to improve its COVID safety measures? Check all that apply.
Convene a meeting of the school safety committee on 1/3
Flyer parents at your school/workplace in a socially distant, masked manner outdoors or via remote meeting
Participate in an action at your school, e.g. a neighborhood car caravan
Participate in a city-wide action like a car caravan or outdoor rally
Participate in a city-wide work stoppage

CTU supported remote learning for students in 2021 and fought school re-openings. It is not surprising now that the union wants to take the pulse of teachers on their support of “a district-wide pause and temporary shift to remote learning.” We learned long ago that teacher unions are all about control, power, and not putting the good of the students as a first priority. The union is again making safety demands before going back to classrooms. The actions that are available, as you see above, include everything from a meeting on school safety to a city-wide work stoppage. The union considers the Chicago Public School’s pandemic response as inadequate. It’s been a battle between Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the union since January 2021 when schools re-opened after shutting down in March 2020 because of the pandemic. Chicago Public Schools threatened teachers with withholding their pay if they didn’t return to class. At that time, ABC News reported that CPS “spent more than $100 million to prepare schools for in-person learning.”


Corey A. DeAngelis, Director of Research for the American Federation for Children, tweeted about the survey and meeting being held this evening. He reminds us that CTU is an affiliate of Randi Weingarten’s AFT. DeAngelis has been doing yeoman’s work on writing about teachers, their unions, and the pandemic.

The Omicron variant is a convenient excuse for the union to increase demands before returning to classrooms in January. This isn’t March 2020 when schools first closed. Mitigation measures are in place in classrooms now. The Omicron variant spreads quickly but for most people, including children, the symptoms have been found to be mild. From the beginning of the pandemic, children have been shown to be the most likely to avoid the virus in the first place. So far, the Omicron variant shows the same is true now as with other variants of the coronavirus and its effect on children. The teachers are overanxious in looking out for themselves. Teachers were at the front of the line when vaccines became available and though the vaccinated can become infected with Omicron in breakthrough cases, the illness doesn’t present itself any worse than a severe cold in most cases. Many who test positive for Omicron remain asymptomatic.


Democrat politicians are beholden to teacher unions because they are such loyal and generous donors to the Democrat Party. The unions have become so powerful and emboldened that they make lists of demands in order to just go to work and do their jobs. Last school year, CTU made its list of demands as Chicago was trying to get its schools re-opened. The result was the $100M spent on safety concerns when the spread of the coronavirus was slowing enough to make school re-opening possible. Credit where credit is (rarely) due – Chicago lefty mayor, Lori Lightfoot, has consistently stood for re-opening schools in Chicago.

DeAngelis points out that this is the time for families to demand that the money follow the students. One clear lesson learned during the pandemic is the harm inflicted on students at the hands of teacher unions. It is the perfect time for advocates for school choice to aggressively go to work to make that change.

“We need to free families from the clutches of power-hungry teachers unions once and for all,” DeAngelis said. “The solution to the massive power imbalance between the teachers union monopoly and individual families is to fund students instead of systems.”

It is as though teacher unions have not fully learned the lesson shown in elections, like the Virginia gubernatorial race, as COVID-19 remains with us. Parents are rebelling against the power of teacher unions. The unions have been exposed for their power grabs and for their tight grip on Democrat politicians. One silver lining in the travesty of school children being restricted to remote learning for an extended period of time is that parents see up close and personal what is happening to classrooms. This issue isn’t going away and we’ll see further proof of that in the midterm elections in 2022. Parents are taking back their power and telling teachers and union bosses to stay in their own lane.


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