Coronavirus is still kicking. In many places, it is actually worse now than it was when everything initially closed. This fact has many teachers around the country crying foul.
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has approved a resolution in support of strikes around school safety. The idea is that if local leaders don’t believe that school conditions are safe for return, or that districts aren’t doing enough to ensure teacher and student safety, teachers can strike.
This resolution has support from the Indiana chapter of AFT, too. In a virtual press conference, president of AFT Indiana, GlenEva Dunham, implied that teachers could act locally as well and that they were “watching it day by day.”
“The members of AFT Indiana will not be bullied or threatened to return to situations that are not safe,” Dunham said.
It is worth noting teachers in Indiana don’t actually have the legal ability to strike. Indiana is one of several states that forbids certain government professions, including teachers, from formally striking. Teachers who strike risk their pay, pensions, and benefits. However, other places have gotten around this by calling their strikes “walkouts” or “sick-outs.” Even if teachers engaged in a classic strike, experts believe they would be safe as their jobs aren’t exactly coveted and would be hard to replace.
This comes on the heels of schools around the country opening and then promptly closing because of COVID-19 outbreaks. Many teachers won’t have to consider a strike because their district or school is already closed indefinitely due to the virus. Those that don’t work at such a school may have a tough decision to make as some adminstrators and politicians are adamant about returning.
Read more about teacher strike regulations and implications here.