UFT Executive Board authorizes further negotiation; strike authorization vote possible tomorrow over safe reopening of schools
The Executive Board of the United Federation of Teachers Monday night unanimously approved a resolution instructing the union’s leadership to continue negotiating with the city with the intention of bringing to the union’s Delegate Assembly tomorrow either:
- A school reopening plan that meets the safety criteria set forth by independent medical experts, or, if negotiations fail,
- A strike authorization vote.
The 3,200-member Delegate Assembly is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said: “We can’t afford to send students and staff back into any buildings until we have done everything possible — including a rigorous virus testing program — to see that they are safe. The members of the UFT know that public employee strikes are illegal, but we are determined to do what is necessary to protect our students and the families of New York City.”
On Aug. 19, the UFT held a press conference attended by medical experts, leaders of community and parent organizations and elected officials. The coalition called for the city to continue remote learning, delaying reopening until all city schools met a checklist of safety standards including adequate personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, improved ventilation and a program of virus testing of adults and students.
Organizations and individuals urging a delayed reopening include the unions representing school principals and other school employees, the NAACP, the New York Immigration Coalition, a variety of parent groups, and an extensive list of federal, state and city officials.
New York is the only big-city school system in the U.S. that has planned to reopen for in-person teaching in September.
Nearly 230,000 New York City residents contracted the coronavirus, and more than 23,000 have died, including 130 active and retired UFT members.
The last UFT strike, a week-long job action, was in 1975 during a city fiscal crisis.