Lightfoot fights back against CTU, withholds pay and considering legal action
In the ongoing CPS-CTU feud, Mayor Lightfoot says teachers on strike will be docked pay, and the city is considering legal recourse. The union says classrooms aren’t safe, and they won’t budge until COVID cases drop or demands are met.
After the Chicago Teachers Union voted to return to remote learning, Chicago Public Schools canceled classes on Jan. 5.
Teachers attempted logging in to Google classrooms Jan. 5, only to find they’d been locked out at the behest of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. CTU and teachers took to Twitter, starting the hashtag #LoriLockout.
CPS is considering the union’s actions an “illegal work stoppage,” and Lightfoot warned teachers who do not show up they’ll be on no pay status. Without a compromise, the city will pursue a lawsuit alleging illegal labor practices.
“I’m urging teachers: Show up to your schools. Your kids need you,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot and Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said that classrooms are safe.
“I don’t want to make light of the fact that there are children being hospitalized, but only 15% of the kids in Chicago hospitals today have COVID-19 and the other 85% have other illnesses,” Arwady said. “We don’t upend school, we don’t stop for influenza.”
The White House commented on the dispute Wednesday, saying it’s safe for schools “including in Chicago” to safely continue in-person learning.
CTU President Jesse Sharkey claimed the latest COVID surge puts students and teachers at risk. The union said they’ll only return to classrooms if new testing demands are met or if COVID-19 cases “substantially subsides.”