Returning to school: What Illinois parents, teachers, school boards need to know

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Staff Attorney and Director of Labor Policy

Some of the largest teacher unions in Illinois have

School districts continue or return to distance learning-this demand pulls many public school teachers in two directions, putting them at a disadvantage.

The Chicago Teachers’ Union has been encouraging its members

Oppose the plan of Chicago Public Schools to reopen teaching buildings and promote the local resolution "Vow to stay remote."

This decision may result in disciplinary action for those who refuse to report to the school. It may even cost them their jobs.

There are four things to know about the science and law of unions that push teachers to refuse to work.

According to Illinois labor law, faculty and staff in public schools

Currently a collective bargaining agreement has been reached. Strikes under contract are considered illegal strikes.

Illinois law regulates the relationship between labor unions and educational employers

The term "strike". Although the refusal to report to work may not be called a formal "strike," it certainly looks like a "strike", especially when carefully planned by the teachers' union.

This is a gray area and may need to be resolved by the Illinois Education Labor Relations Commission.

But by then, the action may have taken place, which makes it too late for the teacher to change his mind. This should allow teachers to stop before deciding not to go to school.

If the Illinois Education Labor Relations Commission determines that a union and its members have engaged in an illegal strike, the Illinois labor law will not provide any protection for teachers who participate in the event.

This means that teachers can be disciplined in accordance with the school district’s policies, such as the provision of wages for non-working employees. For example, if teachers in Chicago Public Schools continue to stay at home instead of reporting to their own buildings when needed, they will be subject to progressive disciplinary policies in the area.

Tribute to Janice Jackson, CEO of CPS.

The Illinois State Government Union has

In the past, if unfair labor practices occurred (such as being forced to work under unsafe conditions), they would strike.

Although it may be correct under federal law, state law governs teachers’ unions. and also

A provision in the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act that allows teachers’ unions to strike

According to the contract.

In recent months, the Labor Council has

CTU asked to stop the Chicago school that opened in January. This is not a good sign for other unions considering going out or refusing to work.

In addition, the union has little scientific or health data to support job rejection.

"The new information tells us that opening a school will not significantly increase the spread of [COVID-19] in the community, but it is important for schools to closely follow the guidance of public health officials,"

Dr. Lee Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For example, a

A review of evidence from 191 countries/regions found that “there is no consistent association between the reopening status of schools and the COVID-19 infection rate.”

There is also evidence from Chicago itself,

Since going to school in person last fall, the institution has provided education to approximately 20,000 students.

All in all, neither law nor science can justify the crackdown on COVID-19 security issues.

Many teachers are in a difficult situation: Ignore the union, face to face

Lead by a union, or defy the school district and face possible disciplinary action by the school district.

But teachers in Illinois do have another option.

Teachers can choose to withdraw from the union membership so they can return to school and avoid being punished by the union. They can then join another professional support organization, such as

, The scope of liability insurance and work protection it provides is only a small part of the cost of union membership.

Teachers who opt-out can still get all the benefits provided by the employer in the collective bargaining agreement, such as wages and raises, health insurance, pensions, vacations and holidays, overtime, seniority and leave, including sick leave.

For more information about opt-out, please visit one of the following websites:

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