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Teachers union wants a delay in further Chicago schools reopening, and vaccines for high school students, as city sees rise in COVID-19 cases and variants

Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Ashley Kiddle, a teacher at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, said members are still trying to bargain over allowing staff to work remotely on days they don’t have students in person.

“We’ve been talking about the need to limit exposure for adults and children. ... There’s no need to have all of the staff in the building,” Kiddle said.

Taft High School teacher Eden McCauslin likened the district’s plan for in-person instruction to “babysitting” and predicted that by June, many teachers would face empty classrooms because “students are not going to be interested in any of these models. They are not conducive to learning.”

“We all recognize this is the next logical step. We need to be opening up the high schools,” McCauslin said. “... We need to do this in a smart way and not waste anybody’s time.”

The district’s reliance on miscellaneous workers to fill staffing holes is a problem, said CTU recording secretary Christel Williams-Hayes.

 

Williams-Hayes said the union is interested in helping and organizing these employees, who are typically paid $15 an hour and are not eligible for benefits.

“Miscellaneous workers should not be a replacement for school clerks. Miscellaneous workers should not be a replacement for teacher assistants or student advocacy — any position that is in a job category in our contract,” Williams-Hayes.

Sharkey said the union is committed to getting ideas from members about what supports they need, bringing those to the bargaining table. Absent an agreement, he said, the union is prepared “to be escalating actions” and applying pressure to CPS and the Chicago Board of Education.

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