NEW YORK – The New York Teachers Union continues to threaten to strike if the city’s education department does not agree to certain safety measures. At the top of the list, as FOX5NY.COM previously reported, is mandatory coronavirus testing.
Many teachers don’t trust city officials who say school buildings will be safe. As an example, schools were kept open in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in the city when other large gatherings were closed.
Union leader Arthur Goldstein said: “The mayor’s response is, ‘Trust me, we’re doing our best.’ But we are not doing our best. ”
The new school year begins in just over two weeks, and city officials continue to make daily announcements on the new plans.
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Now teachers are planning to organize the city’s first teachers’ strike since 1968. Union leaders say it is not a question of pay but a life and death situation. At least 75 employees of the Ministry of Education have died from the coronavirus.
“We don’t want anyone to get sick. We don’t want to get sick. We don’t want families to get sick, we don’t want our communities to get sick, ”says Goldstein. “So we are considering a strike because we are defending the health and safety of the community. ”
The union says it has consulted several experts who recommend mandatory tests for all students and teachers before they enter school. Some union leaders say that without it they will be forced to strike.
“Many New Yorkers know that strikes by public sector workers are illegal in New York State, and I don’t think townspeople will ever feel happy that public servants aren’t there for them. when they need it, ”Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
He says a voluntary free testing model will work.
Ultimately, it is the fragmentary daily revelations about the plan that make the union feel the mayor and chancellor of schools are too late in planning for a safe opening.
The union points to an announcement that was made only on Monday that managers create and submit outdoor learning plans by Friday, with no idea of a budget for things like tents and staff.
“This is nonsense, give me a plan by Friday,” Goldstein said. “The inequalities are scandalous, some schools can collect $ 300,000 per year from their PTA, other schools can hardly collect anything.”