With the omicron variant spreading like wildfire, COVID-19 cases around the country have shattered previous highs. The federal government has essentially given up on trying to fight the virus and a familiar ghoulish chorus of media pundits and wealthy business executives are berating working people to suck it up and put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of the economy. What’s worse, workers who stand up for themselves are being viciously vilified and scapegoated for the systemic failures that have put us in this mess.
Perhaps no group is facing more backlash right now than educators. Earlier this week, nearly 3/4 of the membership of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted to return to virtual work until a deal to implement necessary safety measures is reached with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) or until the city’s positivity rate falls below 10%. In response, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the CPS administration have locked educators out of their virtual classrooms, replaying their actions from last year when COVID cases were surging and teachers were locked out of their employee accounts, and had their pay docked if they refused to return from teaching remotely. In this urgent, unscheduled episode of Working People, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez talks about the lockout with Ana, a CPS teacher and CTU member, and Quetzalli Castro, a CPS teacher and a delegate and organizer within the CTU.
Additional links/info below…
- Chicago Teachers Union website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- Working People, “Mini-cast: #SafeReturnOrNoReturn (w/ Paula Ladin & Mariana Ruiz)“
- Quinn Meyer, Block Club Chicago, “Chicago Teachers Say They Want To Return To Classrooms, But They Need Better COVID-19 Safety Measures“
- Monica Eng, Axios Chicago, “Chicago Public Schools Cancel Thursday Classes“
Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org):
Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”
The transcript of this interview is in progress and will be made available as soon as possible.