Mar 9, 2022 - News

More dysfunction between CPS & the CTU

mask sign

A sign asking students and staff to mask up is posted outside Kozminski Community Academy in Hyde Park. Photo: José M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

Acrimony between CPS and the CTU has been cranked up to 11 again.

  • The union has filed unfair labor charges against CPS for announcing a district-wide rollback of mask mandates without negotiating first.

Why it matters: The lack of compromise and communication between the two parties has once again left parents and students confused about their future.

Context: As part of a return to school in January, the two settled on a safety agreement that required universal indoor masking unless otherwise negotiated.

  • And while CPS CEO Pedro Martínez said in a briefing yesterday that he's been "speaking with CTU leadership about the change," CTU officials tell Axios CPS never negotiated.
  • "Friends and family members talk," CTU vice president Stacy Davis Gates says, "but labor and management negotiate."

What they're saying: Martínez implied he had to act quickly to head off a mask lawsuit by CPS parents represented by downstate lawyer Tom Devore.

  • If CPS lost the case, Martínez said there was a "very high risk that our authority [to apply mitigations] would be taken away … that's too big of a risk for us."

The other side: "They privileged that freak show Tom Devore and a handful of Mount Greenwood parents and ignored the humanity of Black and brown families in the city," Davis Gates says.

The intrigue: The CTU and some parents are asking that students and teachers who are medically vulnerable, or live with someone who is, be cleared for remote schooling.

  • Martínez said CPS is "committed to working with them on it," but Davis Gates says she has "seen no plan for it because there is no plan."

Of note: Less than half of CPS students are fully vaccinated.

What's next: Martínez doesn't "anticipate work stoppages" from the CTU in response to the change, but yesterday said that "we will continue to work together."

  • Davis Gates doesn't rule out a work stoppage but says she's meeting with CTU delegates this week about next steps. She has also asked for "an expedited timeline" to hear the union's labor complaint, which could happen as soon as next week.
  • "It is absolutely ridiculous to continue to put the leadership of this city and the school district on the backs of educators."

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