Teachers Unions – CEC UGC http://cec-ugc.org/ Wed, 22 Sep 2021 17:12:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://cec-ugc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default-150x150.png Teachers Unions – CEC UGC http://cec-ugc.org/ 32 32 Maui teachers rally for staff help and free COVID testing | News, Sports, Jobs https://cec-ugc.org/maui-teachers-rally-for-staff-help-and-free-covid-testing-news-sports-jobs/ https://cec-ugc.org/maui-teachers-rally-for-staff-help-and-free-covid-testing-news-sports-jobs/#respond Wed, 22 Sep 2021 16:31:49 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/maui-teachers-rally-for-staff-help-and-free-covid-testing-news-sports-jobs/ Maui High School teachers hold up signs along Lono Avenue ahead of class Tuesday morning. “It just raises awareness of the safety of our students and teachers,” said Evelyn Gamez, a special education teacher. “We are here to stand in solidarity with the members of the HSTA. Teachers in public schools across the state are […]]]>

Maui High School teachers hold up signs along Lono Avenue ahead of class Tuesday morning. “It just raises awareness of the safety of our students and teachers,” said Evelyn Gamez, a special education teacher. “We are here to stand in solidarity with the members of the HSTA. Teachers in public schools across the state are rallying against frustrations over the lack of COVID-19 testing options in schools and staff shortages made worse by the pandemic. Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Public school teachers rallied at schools in Central Maui on Tuesday, denouncing what they say is a lack of safety for students and a refusal by the state Department of Education to come to the table to find contingency plans in the event of a serious staff shortage.

A few dozen members of the Hawaii State Teachers Association picketed in front of Maui High, Kahului Elementary, and Maui Waena Intermediate schools before classes began.

Joined by Central Maui State Representative Troy Hashimoto and adhering to the COVID-19 protocol, educators at the protest drew attention to the lack of free COVID-19 testing in schools that leave staff and pupils without resources.

As a result, large numbers of staff – and students – are quarantined amid illness or exposure, disrupting key moments for learning and leaving those left in school without sufficient resources. .

“There is currently a significant shortage of substitute teachers, as well as a regular shortage of teachers” Maui Waena science professor John Fitzpatrick said Tuesday. “So a lot of our students end up in the cafeteria because we don’t have enough subscribers to cover the teachers. “

Educators and Maui State Representative Troy Hashimoto (second from right) attend rally in Kahului Tuesday morning to raise awareness of lack of COVID-19 testing options in schools and staff shortages made worse by the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Troy Hashimoto

There were seven teachers from Maui Waena on Tuesday, which means administration, special education, program coordinators or even the registrar will try to cover classes, taking them away from their jobs and forcing them to work hours. additional unpaid, Fitzpatrick said. Since the start of the year, he has seen 13 to 16 teachers go out in a single day.

Maui High special education teacher Evelyn Gamez went on strike on Tuesday, calling for a better testing program. She said some assistants in her department choose not to come to work rather than pay to be tested every week.

“For some, it’s too expensive for them to test if they have to do it out of their own pocket”, she said, adding that she supported the vaccination.

Another educator who picketed Tuesday, Lisa Morrison, said that when students are absent it often leaves the teacher in a difficult position as well.

“I have a child at Paia Elementary School. He was able to go to two weeks of kindergarten, then was considered close contact and had to quarantine himself for 10 days ”, she said. “Can you imagine being the kindergarten teacher who has to go through all the classroom procedures all over again, trying to get the kindergarten kids ready again? “

Morrison, an arts and communications teacher at Maui High, said her high school is doing its best to keep people safe and the situation is more complex in elementary schools, which are not yet licensed to vaccinate young people.

She added that underfunding and overcrowding has long plagued Hawaii’s school system, but with the COVID-19 spotlight, the lack of resources is exacerbated.

“Coming back to full-time (full-time learning) put us back in this situation”, Morrison said. “Obviously, to distance well, we would have to do more than one rotating schedule as we did last year. And I know people thought it was a disruption. But what is happening now is just as much a learning disruption.

Teachers in Maui have said burnout is high.

“I am very grateful because we have the best students – they come to school and the majority of them are really eager to learn” Fitzpatrick said. “Unfortunately we have to work two or three times harder than usual and there is a lot of burnout.

“It’s only two months in the school year and we have to sprint when we try to run a marathon. “

Educators echoed the need for the state’s DOE to partner with the Hawaii Teachers Union to find solutions.

The department has so far refused to negotiate an agreement with the union on school safety measures, which both sides put in place last year, a spokesman for the Hawaii State Teachers Association said. , Keoki Kerr, in a statement.

“I would like the community to reach out to the Department of Education, their local legislator and the governor and demand safer schools and engage with unions working in schools to find a solution. said Morrison, who is also the secretary-treasurer of HSTA. “I don’t expect the public to necessarily find a solution, but if the community demands it, there is an answer.”

“This is the security our students deserve” she added. “These are all our children and we need to protect them. “

DOE Acting Superintendent Keith Hayashi said on Tuesday evening that schools are “Committed to ensuring that learning takes place as much as possible and providing homework for students who are in quarantine due to COVID.” “

He added that students learning at home during quarantine use a variety of tools, including work packages designed to be completed during quarantine, assignment to a Google classroom and other forms of virtual learning. .

Additionally, the ministry is partnering with the state Department of Health to coordinate school-based COVID-19 testing for eligible students and staff at no cost through federally funded programs.

“By the end of this week, all public schools will be registered for training to participate in the Operation Expanded Testing program,” Hayashi said by e-mail. “We are grateful for the many new free and accessible testing opportunities that have been made available statewide as schools strive to speed up testing programs.”

The DOE chief said time and energy must be focused on working together as a community to coexist with COVID-19 for the long term.

“It means building on lessons learned, adapting to updated science and advice, and collaborating on realistic solutions focused on keeping students safe in the classroom.” he said.

Starting last week in Kapolei, when around 200 teachers from Leeward Oahu staged an outdoor picket, teachers across the state are holding protests in the coming weeks to raise awareness of the challenges facing schools. A protest at DOE headquarters in Honolulu took place Tuesday afternoon, the Hawaii State Teachers Association said.

The HSTA is the exclusive representative of 13,500 public school teachers statewide.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be contacted at kcerizo@mauinews.com. Writer and photographer Matthew Thayer contributed to this report.

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LAUSD teachers’ union members expected to vote indefinitely on Israeli-Palestinian resolution – Daily News https://cec-ugc.org/lausd-teachers-union-members-expected-to-vote-indefinitely-on-israeli-palestinian-resolution-daily-news/ https://cec-ugc.org/lausd-teachers-union-members-expected-to-vote-indefinitely-on-israeli-palestinian-resolution-daily-news/#respond Tue, 21 Sep 2021 21:01:45 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/lausd-teachers-union-members-expected-to-vote-indefinitely-on-israeli-palestinian-resolution-daily-news/ A vote on a controversial resolution expressing support for Palestine and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel will likely be suspended at a meeting this week of union members representing teachers at Los Angeles Unified. A substitution motion is expected to be presented at Thursday’s meeting, which calls for the original motion to […]]]>

A vote on a controversial resolution expressing support for Palestine and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel will likely be suspended at a meeting this week of union members representing teachers at Los Angeles Unified.

A substitution motion is expected to be presented at Thursday’s meeting, which calls for the original motion to be postponed indefinitely and for voluntary forums on the Middle East conflict to be held instead. According to the wording of the proposed substitution motion, the forums will be “a space where issues will be discussed and debated in an atmosphere of tolerance and intellectual rigor and will include classroom teaching practices.”

Both supporters of the substitution motion as well as those who put forward the original proposal said they expected the substitution motion to pass.

“It was the best compromise we could find to maintain the unity of UTLA among all of its members,” said Scott Mandel, zone president for United Teachers Los Angeles who helped draft the replacement motion.

“Everyone realizes how divisive this (original) motion was,” he said.

The initial proposal was presented in May by some UTLA members amid 11 days of deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory.

Supporters of the original resolution accused the Israeli government of committing apartheid and genocide against the Palestinians.

Critics, meanwhile, called the resolution anti-Semitic and one-sided, saying Hamas also fired thousands of rockets at Israel during the May fighting and noting allegations the group used civilians as human shields.

Some also wondered why a local teachers’ union would take a stand on a conflict emerging across the world when they believed the goal should be to help students closer to home recover from the pandemic of coronavirus.

Los Angeles teachers are not the first to suggest taking a stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, the teachers’ unions in San Francisco and Seattle have passed resolutions supporting the BDS movement.

It doesn’t look like UTLA will join this list just yet.

In July – following a campaign coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, in which parents and educators at LAUSD signed letters opposing the proposed motion, and some UTLA members have threatened to leave the union if he took a pro-BDS stance – UTLA board directors voted to recommend that the union’s 250-member House of Representatives postpone action on motion indefinitely original and organizes educational forums.

If the replacement motion that will be voted on this week is adopted, the original motion cannot be voted on in its present form. If the replacement motion is not adopted, then the original motion will be voted on by the members of the House.

But the substitution motion is generally expected to be approved.

Teacher Soni Lloyd, among the most vocal of those who brought forward the original motion, said last month that he had no plans to campaign against the substitution motion and that he and others wanted now focus their energy on educational forums.

“It is a victory for the people who pushed the (original) motion because the (Israeli-Palestinian) issue is receiving more attention,” he said of the proposed forums.


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YSU Unions Donate School Supplies to Youngstown Students https://cec-ugc.org/ysu-unions-donate-school-supplies-to-youngstown-students/ https://cec-ugc.org/ysu-unions-donate-school-supplies-to-youngstown-students/#respond Tue, 21 Sep 2021 08:45:00 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/ysu-unions-donate-school-supplies-to-youngstown-students/ “Back to school can be a costly time for families. We appreciate that our friends and colleagues at YSU think of us and in particular our academics and our families, ”said Justin Jennings, CEO of Youngstown City Schools. YOUNGSTOWN – The four employee unions at Youngstown State University donated 12 boxes of school supplies to […]]]>

“Back to school can be a costly time for families. We appreciate that our friends and colleagues at YSU think of us and in particular our academics and our families, ”said Justin Jennings, CEO of Youngstown City Schools.

YOUNGSTOWN – The four employee unions at Youngstown State University donated 12 boxes of school supplies to students in the Youngstown City School District.

Susanne Miller, former vice-president of the Association of Professional and Administrative Personnel, said the donation was a first.

“This is the first time that the four YSU unions have worked together on a service project, and we hope to collaborate again in the future,” she said in a press release. “We know times are tough in our community, and helping students – and teachers – at Youngstown City schools by providing them with school essentials keeps them focused on what is really important: educating. our young people. We are happy to help you get the school year off to a good start.

She delivered the boxes full of notebooks, pens and pencils, boxes of tissues, markers, pencils and other items to the district teaching and learning department last week.

In addition to APAS, the other YSU unions are the YSU-Ohio Education Association, which represents YSU faculty, the Association of Classified Employees, and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Justin Jennings, CEO of Youngstown City Schools, said he was grateful for the generosity of the unions.

“The start of the school year can be a costly time for families,” he said. “We appreciate that our friends and colleagues at YSU think of us and in particular our academics and our families. “

YCSD is providing school supplies to students to start the year, but donations will increase that, ensuring students have the supplies they need to get through the school year, the statement said.


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Teacher vaccination warrants are slow to reach U.S. classrooms https://cec-ugc.org/teacher-vaccination-warrants-are-slow-to-reach-u-s-classrooms/ https://cec-ugc.org/teacher-vaccination-warrants-are-slow-to-reach-u-s-classrooms/#respond Mon, 20 Sep 2021 21:42:57 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/teacher-vaccination-warrants-are-slow-to-reach-u-s-classrooms/ When the Clark County, Nevada, School Board began considering requiring its teachers and staff to receive the COVID vaccine earlier this month, the resistance was fierce. At the board meeting, some opponents said the rule would amount to an attack on their freedom. Others regurgitated discredited medical claims about vaccine safety. Some teachers have sworn […]]]>

When the Clark County, Nevada, School Board began considering requiring its teachers and staff to receive the COVID vaccine earlier this month, the resistance was fierce.

At the board meeting, some opponents said the rule would amount to an attack on their freedom. Others regurgitated discredited medical claims about vaccine safety. Some teachers have sworn to quit rather than get the shot. “My doctor and I decide what to do with my body and medical decisions – not you, my employer,” said a district teacher. “We want our freedom.

Board members in the nation’s fifth largest district, where Las Vegas is located, held their ground, voting 5-1 in favor of politics. But the fight is actually far from over.

The council resolution did not put in place a mandate; it simply allowed the district officials to start negotiating one with the local unions. No agreement has been reached to date. Meanwhile, one in three staff members failed to provide proof of vaccination, officials said earlier this month.

The Clark County experience illustrates a larger reality: Despite an increase in the number of schools and states declaring vaccines mandatory, schools in the United States have been slow to impose such requirements on staff.

In some cases, negotiations are ongoing. In others, a test opt-out provides a significant loophole. Many do not impose any rules on vaccines. Even in the strictest districts, the schedule allows teachers to be in class for a month or two before they are fully immunized.

Few districts have yet started implementing the mandates either – and with districts grappling with staff shortages, it remains to be seen whether they will.

In many places, “parents think there is a mandate for vaccination, but it really isn’t,” said Lesley Lavery, a professor at Macalester College where she studies teacher unions. “We have to watch the fine print.”

Several states prohibit schools from mandating vaccines. But among 100 major U.S. school districts, about a third have staff immunization rules, according to a tracker kept by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, and more are moving in that direction. Washington, DC on Monday announced a full immunization mandate for school personnel.

The CRPE figure includes districts like Clark County, which for now only requires weekly testing of unvaccinated staff. Philadelphia is also included, where the school district requires testing twice a week for those who are not vaccinated, compared to weekly testing for those who are. Staff won’t lose their jobs if they don’t get vaccinated, the district recently acknowledged.

Likewise, a number of states – including California and New Jersey – that have imposed putative vaccine mandates instead allow school staff to be tested regularly.

It’s an important distinction, says Susan Hassig, epidemiologist at Tulane University. Weekly tests just don’t offer as much protection as vaccination, she said, because a positive test result could come after someone has already infected others. “It’s not as good,” Hassig said.

The three largest districts in the country, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, do not allow alternative testing. (They allow medical and religious exemptions.) Even there, however, educators could be in school buildings for weeks without this protection.

While parents who wish to enter New York City school buildings must now show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine, teachers have until September 27 to receive their first injection and an additional 45 days to obtain their second. School staff in Los Angeles and Chicago have until Oct. 15 to be fully immunized.

In fact, it doesn’t appear that a large school district started this year with a full immunization mandate, although the vaccine was available from last spring and teachers often had early access to it. (One exception was the Success Academy, a large charter network in New York City, which required staff to be fully immunized before school started in August.)

Vaccines do not prevent all cases of COVID-19, but they have been shown to reduce the chances of contracting and spreading the virus.

A recent case study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted the risk to students when their teacher is unprotected. Unvaccinated teacher with symptoms of COVID in Marin County, Calif., Removed his mask to read aloud; soon half of the class was infected with COVID.

Cases of COVID in children are rarely severe, but they have become more and more prevalent and children may play a role in the spread of the virus within a community. Transmission of COVID can also disrupt in-person schooling: New York City recently closed a Manhattan school for students with severe disabilities after 16 staff contracted the virus after a staff orientation.

Rebecca Garcia, who has three children at Clark County schools, wants teachers to be vaccinated to minimize disruption from positive cases. “If this is a step to make sure we can have a more normal school environment, then it’s something I’m not going to argue with,” she said.

Polls show that while most of the public supports teacher immunization requirements, parents are more divided on the issue.

Teachers are also divided, forcing their unions to take a cautious line.

“I represent educators who are on both sides,” said Marie Neisess, president of the Clark County Education Association. “While we’re not against vaccines, we just want to make sure – now that it’s going to be mandatory – that we have the ability to negotiate on behalf of all educators. “

In New York, officials said unvaccinated staff without medical or religious exemptions will be put on unpaid leave. In Los Angeles, school officials also said unvaccinated staff could be made redundant. But in places where a large portion of staff do not want to be vaccinated, it can be difficult to follow through with this threat.

“Are you really going to lay off staff when many districts are have staff shortages? Said Bree Dusseault, who has followed district policies at CRPE.

A spokesperson for Clark County Schools, which still has several hundred unfilled teacher positions, did not respond to a request for comment.

Roxanne James, principal of a Clark County college, says she expects some of her staff to step down if a term is put in place. “There will be a loss at the start,” she said. “What we will do is we will plan for it, we will adapt to it.”

This could force her to get rid of classes specifically for students who are learning virtually, she admitted. Yet she supports the district’s decision to pursue a vaccination mandate.

“What hurts me right now is seeing children coming home sick,” she said.

It is not known exactly how much of the school staff is already vaccinated. An Education Week poll over the summer found that 87% of teachers said they had received the vaccine, but 11% said they had no plans to do so.

Staffing issues can be particularly acute in politically conservative areas of liberal states that have statewide rules in place.

In Oregon, where the governor has imposed a vaccination warrant on all school employees without opting out of testing, As of October 18, some school officials in rural areas are worried. A small district in central Oregon even delayed the school year by nine days to “fully plan and prepare for the staffing issues caused by the new vaccination mandate.”

But just as schools don’t want to lose staff, those who work in schools don’t want to lose their jobs. The tension creates a kind of pool game between unvaccinated teachers and school districts.

“What I’m telling people is not to quit,” said Jason Dudash, Oregon director of the Freedom Foundation, a conservative group that urges teachers to withdraw from their local unions. The organization has filed a complaint on behalf of six Oregon employees who do not want to be vaccinated. “Is the governor really going to follow up on this?” ”

The state has said schools cannot employ unvaccinated staff past the October deadline and face financial penalties if they fail to comply.


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Aetna sues NYC, unions over ‘tainted’ health insurance contract https://cec-ugc.org/aetna-sues-nyc-unions-over-tainted-health-insurance-contract/ https://cec-ugc.org/aetna-sues-nyc-unions-over-tainted-health-insurance-contract/#respond Sun, 19 Sep 2021 23:00:00 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/aetna-sues-nyc-unions-over-tainted-health-insurance-contract/ New York’s largest private Medicare administrator is suing the Big Apple and its local union leaders for allegedly awarding a “flawed” $ 34 billion contract to an unqualified competitor. Insurance giant Aetna’s explosive lawsuit against New York City and the municipal labor committee alleges the bidding process was set to favor Alliance, a consortium that […]]]>

New York’s largest private Medicare administrator is suing the Big Apple and its local union leaders for allegedly awarding a “flawed” $ 34 billion contract to an unqualified competitor.

Insurance giant Aetna’s explosive lawsuit against New York City and the municipal labor committee alleges the bidding process was set to favor Alliance, a consortium that includes Emblem Health and Anthem / Blue Cross Blue Shield, to operate the Medicare Advantage Plus program, which administers health benefits to 250,000 retirees in the city.

“OLR [the city’s Office of Labor Relations] selected an inexperienced and unqualified bidder in a procurement process that violated New York procurement law, lacked transparency, and violated the principles of public trust and fairness for a market that could last up to a minimum of five years or up to eleven years and generate $ 34 billion in claims income, ”Aetna alleges in her suIIt wasn’t filed in Manhattan Supreme Court earlier this month.

Aetna and Alliance were the two finalists that city officials and union leaders considered for the massive contract, which is expected to save the Big Apple around $ 3 billion over five years, or roughly $ 600 million per year. year.

Aetna asks the court to cancel the contract, which takes effect on January 1.

Retired municipal workers are eligible for Medicare, the federally run program that provides health insurance to people who turn 65 – but their union contract also asks the Big Apple to bear the cost. their monthly premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care and other additional services not covered by Medicare.

Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, is associated with Alliance partner Emblem Health, which won the city’s Medicare program contract on Aetna.

Aetna argues that she has more experience than Alliance in dealing with these issues. And even city officials acknowledged that Aetna, the country’s third-largest health insurance provider, was clearly the most experienced bidder in running Medicare Advantage programs across the country.

One of the criteria of the proposal was that bidders must have provided service to a customer with at least 50,000 subscribers.

Aetna currently manages the New Jersey Medicare Advantage program for 196,577 retirees, the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust with 140,305 members, the Ohio State Teachers Retirement System with 96,106, the Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund with 75,369 members) and Verizon with 73,176 members, according to the lawsuit.

Aetna alleges that Alliance has failed to meet even this “low bar”.

Alliance noted that one of its partners, Anthem, based in Indiana, manages the Medicare Advantage program for Colorado’s public employee retirement system with 50,000 members. But Aetna says Anthem’s contract only covered 43,000 retirees, which should disqualify the Alliance’s bid for city works.

Other concerns raised in the trial involved:

  • Costs: Aetna claimed her prescription drug plan was at least $ 30 cheaper per worker per month than the Alliance plan and offered free prescriptions for some generic drugs. He also said his plan’s premium was $ 366 a year lower for each worker than the Alliance’s advertised rate.
  • Breach of confidentiality: The insurer said a city assessor falsely disclosed some of its cost proposals during a meeting with union members, which “tainted” the selection process by alerting its rival Alliance on its figures.
  • Arbitrator / Familiarity: The city and unions turned to a state arbitrator to help resolve an impasse over selecting a winning bidder – a decision that was not mentioned as part of the procurement process .

During the early assessment process, City officials favored Aetna because of her experience in managing Medicare Advantage programs, according to the lawsuit. But union leaders preferred the Alliance because GHI / Emblem Health partners and Blue Cross had more of a history of providing medical benefits to city workers, according to newspapers.

The parties have asked arbitrator Martin Scheinman – who recently ruled that religious exemptions can be granted to COVID vaccine requirements for public school teachers – to be asked to issue a recommendation on the final bidder as the city and unions should choose. At the time, Scheinman chaired a municipal panel to find savings on health care.

Scheinman chose Alliance, arguing that his “familiarity” with offering benefits to the city’s workforce outweighed Aetna’s superior experience in managing health insurance programs, according to the documents.

Sanitation workers pick up trash near 675 Central Avenue in Brooklyn on March 10, 2021.
Sanitation workers pick up trash near 675 Central Avenue in Brooklyn on March 10, 2021.
James keivom

Her voice helped rock the price at the Alliance, the costume says.

But Aetna argues in court documents that “the applicable solicitation and procurement law did not provide for this action … and Arbitrator Scheinman’s recommendation was based on a new test mentioned nowhere in the procurement documents.” .

Aetna also claims that Alliance officials have had the opportunity to discuss issues with Scheinman, while his employees have not.

Aetna received the highest scores during the early stages of the assessment process, according to the lawsuit.

Other sources familiar with the negotiations said it seemed Alliance had an internal lead because of its ties to union leaders. Teamsters Local 237 president Gregory Floyd, for example, sits on the board of Alliance partner Emblem Health.

Some retiree advocates have joined Aetna to question the award of the contract.

First responders arrive at a construction site from Hudson Street to Vandam Street in Manhattan after a man fell 20 feet into a well on September 14, 2021.
First responders arrive at a construction site from Hudson Street to Vandam Street in Manhattan after a man fell 20 feet into a well on September 14, 2021.
William Farrington

“There is definitely a bit of fishing going on. This contract makes no sense, ”said Marianne Pizzitola, president of the FDNY EMS Retirees Association and representative of the New York Civil Service Retirees Organization, whose groups are affected by the contract.

Pizzitola said retirees were “kept in the dark” of the deliberations and referred to the appearance of a conflict with Teamsters leader Floyd sitting on the winning bidder’s board of directors.

“How is that not fishy?” ” she said.

Nicholas Paolucci, a representative of the city’s legal department, told The Post in an email: “The city is committed to selecting vendors who are in the best interests of the city and its retirees. We will examine the case.

Meanwhile, union leaders at the City Labor Council have dismissed Aetna’s trial as a sore loser’s desperate bet.

” We did it. It was fair and straight to the point. I didn’t hear anything bad with this particular contract, the way it was done. Everything has been done in T, ”said Harry Nespoli, president of the City Labor Council and president of the Sanitation Workers Union.

“To me it looks like sour grapes. Aetna had her chance. This saves money for New York City. What the hell is wrong with that? I thought it was a spectacular deal. I still think it is, “he said.

Teamsters Local 237 president Floyd said his role on the board of directors of bidder Emblem Health did not pose a conflict. He voted to award Emblem / Anthem-Blue Cross.

“It is only a conflict if I was the only union leader to vote or if I had the most influential vote. This was not the case. I had a voice – that was it, ”Floyd said.

“It’s a stupid trial. Aenta made an offer, and they lost the offer. He’s a sore loser.

Harry Nespoli, president of the sanitation workers union.
Harry Nespoli, president of the sanitation workers union, says insurance company Aetna is acting “like raisins” with their lawsuit against the city.
William Farrington

Noting that Aetna is one of the largest private health insurance companies in the country, Floyd said, “How greedy can you be?

Floyd said contracts expire and there will be opportunities for future business – but added that Aetna is burning her bridges.

“I have a long memory,” Floyd said.

He said Aetna currently administers prescription drug benefits to its members, who work as security guards in schools, homeless shelters and NYCHA complexes.

In this case, Aetna replaced HIP / Emblem Health because the union didn’t like the latter’s performance, and Aetna is doing a “good job,” the Teamsters boss said.


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We must all support the courageous carpenters strike! https://cec-ugc.org/we-must-all-support-the-courageous-carpenters-strike/ https://cec-ugc.org/we-must-all-support-the-courageous-carpenters-strike/#respond Sat, 18 Sep 2021 15:39:46 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/we-must-all-support-the-courageous-carpenters-strike/ Friday, September 17, 2021 Dear Carpenter Brothers, Sisters and Brothers, Workers have been pressed on all sides and our conditions have deteriorated. Meanwhile, just since the start of the COVID crisis, American billionaires have enriched themselves by nearly two trillion dollars. And bosses have raked in trillions more over the past decade, while workers have […]]]>

Friday, September 17, 2021

Dear Carpenter Brothers, Sisters and Brothers,

Workers have been pressed on all sides and our conditions have deteriorated.

Meanwhile, just since the start of the COVID crisis, American billionaires have enriched themselves by nearly two trillion dollars. And bosses have raked in trillions more over the past decade, while workers have fallen behind. Home prices in Seattle rose 93% during this period. Rents in Seattle have increased by over 25% this year alone. Carpenters increasingly cannot afford to live in the city they are helping to build.

But despite all the obstacles, grassroots carpenters say enough! My Council office and political organization Socialist Alternative stand unequivocally alongside the carpenters in their fight against AGC bosses for a fair contract: for paid parking, for fully funded services, wages to provide for the needs family and better protections against sexual harassment in the workplace. . No worker should have to run after overtime, worrying about health care, retirement or salary just to get by. We will support you.

We are stronger, united against the bosses, and that is why it is crucial that the Martin Luther King County Labor Council, representing over 150 unions, support you in your strike!

As some of you may know, I am a grassroots member of the teachers’ union, AFT 1789. As a three times elected worker representative, I only earn $ 40,000 and the rest of my salary. $ 140,000 to city council after tax goes into a solidarity fund for labor movements. I believe that all elected representatives, including elected union leaders, should also retain the average workers’ salary – in order to be accountable and in touch with the needs and living conditions of those they represent. I pledge to donate $ 2,000 from this solidarity fund to your strike fund if the carpenters union creates one, and I urge labor and community organizations, and progressive elected officials to do the same.

Carpenters are rightly opposed to the idea of ​​a four-year contract separating them from most contract negotiations in the building trades. The workers have the most power when we are united in the face of the bosses’ desire to increase profits at our expense. It is a rare thing that all trades contracts come together every three years, and we stand by your side in your fight to maintain this unity.

We need this unity every day if we are to overcome the attacks on organized labor and the millions of working families that the ruling class leads.

The corporate media are now writing hit stories, siding with the AGC and attempting to slander the striking carpenters as greedy and sexist – saying you are being driven to disaster by outside agitators and Marxists. What a dishonest and insulting attack on the heroic efforts of the workers in their own struggle. The workers leading this strike made it clear that there was no room for sexism and racism in their movement. It goes without saying that my Council office is also opposed to all misogyny and fanaticism, and has 8 years of experience in combating sexism and racism, as we have fought to uplift all workers and people. oppressed. But we also oppose these blatant attempts to take the vile words of a few individuals in an attempt to smear this strike and all union members.

It should be emphasized that the very real problem of harassment is only brought to light by the mainstream media when it is used as a weapon against workers who are struggling to improve their conditions. It’s only fitting that carpenters have been picketing since yesterday on the Microsoft campus, where Bill Gates has been given a pass for years for his sexist and harassing behavior – not to mention the pass long given by senior executives. business and corporate media to Gates’ good friend, Jeffrey Epstein. . The business elite harasses women, the oppressed and the entire working class, then tries to smear union members who are fighting for their rights.

Likewise, what an insulting distortion of grassroots members organizing and fighting, to imply that they are just being guided by the nose rather than working together to consciously advance their interests. But it is a well-worn tactic of the bosses and their spokespersons. The labor movements and leaders celebrated today were also vilified in their time. The fight for the eight hour day was dismissed as being led by outside bomb throwers and agitators. From Peter J. McGuire to Eugene V. Debs and Harry Bridges, they have all been portrayed as despotic radicals with a distinct working class agenda. But as socialists their program was nothing more than to advance the interests of the workers through collective action, to chart a course against poverty and misery, against the brutal rule of the owners, for the organization. democratic society by workers.

These gains were made through struggle, not through compromise and surrender. It was collaboration with the bosses that led to decades of defeats and worsening conditions for workers, unionized and non-unionized. We must rebuild a combative trade union movement if we are to make a difference. This courageous strike is an important step that can serve as an example for workers across the country.

When we fight, we can win. We saw it when we made Seattle the first big city to earn a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour, when we won the Amazon Tax last year to fund union jobs by building affordable housing, and when we supported striking Teamster public school bus drivers who won health and pension demands. When workers fight and win, it inspires workers everywhere. And when unionized workers use their collective organization to wage these battles, it turns on a beacon for the tens of millions of people who are wondering how to improve their conditions, showing that the way forward is in the ranks of organized labor.

As the Teamsters fighters said in 1934, “All workers in unions – All unions in struggle!” “

Solidarity!

Kshama Sawant

Seattle City Council Member


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Democrats see political support for Covid mandates in California https://cec-ugc.org/democrats-see-political-support-for-covid-mandates-in-california/ https://cec-ugc.org/democrats-see-political-support-for-covid-mandates-in-california/#respond Sat, 18 Sep 2021 08:31:28 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/democrats-see-political-support-for-covid-mandates-in-california/ WASHINGTON – Democrats from President Joe Biden to city council members have faced an intense backlash to the Covid-19 mask and vaccine warrants. But fresh off his lopsided victory this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom has a message for his party: Suck it up. Heading into next year’s midterm elections, when Democrats will have to […]]]>

WASHINGTON – Democrats from President Joe Biden to city council members have faced an intense backlash to the Covid-19 mask and vaccine warrants. But fresh off his lopsided victory this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom has a message for his party: Suck it up.

Heading into next year’s midterm elections, when Democrats will have to defend their very slim majorities in Congress, Newsom and other party members are backing the results in California, where Tuesday’s recall election looked like sometimes in a referendum on coronavirus mandates, show that they are not. only a good policy, but also a good policy.

Democrats need to “stiffen their spine” and ignore backlash from a vocal minority, Newsom told CBS this week.

“It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also a motivator in this election,” he said. “It was an odd year, out of month elections and the turnout was off the charts because people were motivated because they understood what was at stake. The consequences were so clear, and the Democrats, I hope, were paying attention. “

Democrats face opposition to vaccine mandates within their coalition. Unions, which historically back Democrats, have fought for mandates for their members.

Frustration with the health restrictions galvanized opposition to Newsom and led to the unsuccessful attempt to fire him. But Newsom ended up making his response to the pandemic the centerpiece of his campaign, warning Republicans would rescind his tenure as the country’s first school mask if they avoided him.

It turned out to be a good bet, with an NBC News exit poll showing a large majority of California recall voters supporting his approach.

Getting Democrats to vote was Newsom’s biggest challenge and it will be one of the biggest hurdles for his party in 2022. Newsom advisers credit the mandate’s message to helping boost turnout. levels close to 2018, higher than expected.

Of course, California is bluer than the rest of the country. And the battle for congressional control will be fought in swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well as moderate parts of the Red States, like the Houston suburb of Texas.

But Patrick Murray, who heads the non-partisan Monmouth University poll, which this week released a nationwide survey of Covid warrants, said there is broad support for the warrants across the country, even in much less liberal places than California.

“When we broke out the red states and the blue states in the presidential vote (2020), he was in the majority in both types of states,” he said. “This suggests that independent voters or swing voters in these states are not happy with the Republican stance on dealing with the pandemic. “

If the terms were unpopular, Murray noted, one would expect Newsom’s margin of victory to be narrower than in his last election. This does not happen. Newsom was elected 62-38 percent three years ago. And he defeated the recall this week by 64-36%, although not all votes have been counted yet.

“At the very least, the mandates don’t hurt Democrats. And there’s some evidence that it’s probably helping them, at least right now, ”Murray said. “In a year, we don’t know.

Mid-term 2022 is still over a year away and opinions could of course change.

Perhaps the pandemic will have abated and voters won’t be interested in how Republicans failed to support vaccination mandates. Or maybe the pandemic will drag on and voters will be wary of mandates and gravitate towards the more freedom-oriented GOP message.

But for now, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, DN.Y., charged with leading Democrats’ efforts to defend their majority as chairman of the Democratic Congressional campaign committee, has said on MSNBC that his candidates should “own anger ”in the face of the pandemic.

“There is a reason the pandemic continues. That’s because (the Republicans) played it down at first, they dragged their feet on wearing the mask, and now, every step of the way, they’re trying to stop the mask warrants where they make sense. We should embrace them, ”he said.

Not all Democrats agree, especially the most vulnerable in swing neighborhoods, although they are mostly silent on this. And the party has met resistance from some key allies – the unions.

Police, firefighters, emergency doctors and other public sector unions, including some staunchly Democratic teachers ‘unions, have resisted their members’ mandates.

When Biden announced plans to demand all federal workers get vaccinated, one of their largest unions, whose PAC donates almost exclusively to Democrats, criticized the top-down decision saying that “workers deserve a voice in their working conditions “.

In Virginia, where voters will elect a new governor in November, Democrat Terry McAuliffe attempted to use mask and vaccine warrants to put his Republican opponent, businessman Glenn Youngkin, in a grassroots deadlock. of the GOP, which fiercely opposes mandates, and the more moderate ones. swing voters, which are more favorable to them.

“Here in this county, all the intensive care beds are full. I am for demanding and mandating vaccination. He is not. He likes to make (public service announcements). public won’t get you anything, ”McAuliffe said in the candidates’ first debate Thursday night in Grundy, in the southwestern state near the Kentucky border.

Youngkin, who himself has been vaccinated and encourages others to do the same, accused McAuliffe of lying by calling him “anti-vaccination” and said it was unconstitutional to force people to be vaccinated against their. will.

“My opponent said he wanted to make life difficult for people who do not get the vaccine. I think Virginians have suffered enough for a governor to make life difficult for them, ”Youngkin said.

A recent Monmouth poll of Virginians found that two-thirds of registered voters support requiring students, teachers and staff to wear masks in schools. A narrower majority, 53%, approved the University of Virginia’s decision to de-enroll students who refuse to comply with the school’s strict health safety protocols.

Tyler Law, a Democratic strategist who has worked on House races and is now based in California, said the warrants could cause trouble for Republicans even if Covid no longer remains a real problem in this year’s general election next by pushing the party to nominate problematic candidates.

“The Republicans have created another litmus test for their own party on terms well outside the mainstream,” he said, noting that candidates will struggle to win the GOP primaries if they support the terms. mask and vaccine.

And he said the party’s pandemic policies could be particularly problematic among parents of unvaccinated children in the suburbs, where many key House races will be fought and vaccine acceptance is generally high.

“Democrats are too often afraid of our own shadow and don’t just stand up and stand behind what we believe,” he said. “We know the immunization mandates are good, so let’s go ahead and push them. “



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Public sector unions fuel the problem of inequalities and inequalities: editorial https://cec-ugc.org/public-sector-unions-fuel-the-problem-of-inequalities-and-inequalities-editorial/ https://cec-ugc.org/public-sector-unions-fuel-the-problem-of-inequalities-and-inequalities-editorial/#respond Fri, 17 Sep 2021 19:33:24 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/public-sector-unions-fuel-the-problem-of-inequalities-and-inequalities-editorial/ There is another element to the growing income gap in Illinois: Public sector unions are twisting the facts to pressure their political allies to levy higher taxes on individuals and businesses for their benefit. own profit. In fact, collective bargaining in the public sector is part of the problem. The absolute dominance of public sector […]]]>

There is another element to the growing income gap in Illinois: Public sector unions are twisting the facts to pressure their political allies to levy higher taxes on individuals and businesses for their benefit. own profit. In fact, collective bargaining in the public sector is part of the problem.

The absolute dominance of public sector unions over all facets of the Illinois government has led to a pension crisis that has cost the state hundreds of billions of dollars. This alliance drained the state government’s ability to provide basic services as state leaders appease powerful public sector union leaders who then fund the war treasures of many politicians.

While unions are correct that the bargaining power has shifted in favor of employers, they ignore the rest of the story. By increasing labor costs, stronger unions encourage companies to look for substitutes. Research shows that union density affects the location of businesses and the demand for labor.

When companies are faced with higher costs, they employ fewer workers, especially workers at the lower end of the skill scale, while demanding that the workers they employ be more productive.

It is important to stress that private sector unions are not the problem. In 2020, only about 10% of workers in the private sector in Illinois were union members. In the private sector, the threat of unionization alone is enough to induce non-union companies to pay higher wages. Indeed, raising wages to avoid long and costly collective bargaining disputes tends to benefit everyone. Businesses could become more profitable because well-paid, happier workers are more productive while being less likely to feel the need to organize in the first place.

The same is not true of public sector unions.

Public sector unions represent virtually all public sector employees. And these unions have a mission to increase wages and benefits and protect job security, regardless of employee performance.

The average compensation of Illinois government employees exceeds that of private sector workers by 38.2%, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is even if the level of college education among workers in the private sector exceeds that of workers in the public sector in Illinois.

A closer look reveals that the gap is larger for similar workers in certain occupations. Public sector workers in service occupations such as health care, catering and maintenance with college degrees earned 60% more than their similar counterparts in the private sector. Those without a university degree earned 50% more than their peers.

When public sector unions increase their demands, governments face tighter budgets, forcing them to borrow more, raise taxes, or cut funding for other programs.

In Illinois, public service pension costs represent nearly 27% of the state’s general fund budget. In the last state budget, pension costs amounted to $ 10 billion. This is more than the state spends on K-12 education or social services. In fact, spending on higher education, child and family services, social services and public health has fallen since 2010. Despite two record income tax hikes. during the same period.

While public sector unions benefit from unfair contracts, the Illinois economy grows less and most Illinois residents, especially the poorest, suffer.

It’s getting worse.

In the case of teacher unions, research shows that exposure to unionized teachers reduces future student earnings. The effect is greatest for black and Hispanic students. Collective bargaining for public school teachers directly exacerbates income inequalities and racial disparities.

Illinois residents who are concerned about inequality and want their home state to prosper must resist power games that give more authority to government unions, such as Joint Resolution Amendment 11 of the Senate. The future of our home state depends on the government’s commitment to stop bending to public sector unions.

Orphe Divounguy is chief economist at the Illinois Policy Institute.


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Ross Douthat: When politics is not a question of principle | Chroniclers https://cec-ugc.org/ross-douthat-when-politics-is-not-a-question-of-principle-chroniclers/ https://cec-ugc.org/ross-douthat-when-politics-is-not-a-question-of-principle-chroniclers/#respond Fri, 17 Sep 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/ross-douthat-when-politics-is-not-a-question-of-principle-chroniclers/ In Employment Division v. Smith, a Supreme Court case decided in 1990, Justice Antonin Scalia led the majority in ruling that the state of Oregon was allowed to deny unemployment benefits to two men laid off from their jobs after ingesting peyote , an illegal drug. , during a Native American religious ceremony. At the […]]]>

In Employment Division v. Smith, a Supreme Court case decided in 1990, Justice Antonin Scalia led the majority in ruling that the state of Oregon was allowed to deny unemployment benefits to two men laid off from their jobs after ingesting peyote , an illegal drug. , during a Native American religious ceremony.

At the time, the ruling significantly reduced constitutional protections for religious freedom by declaring that as long as a law like the peyote ban was formally enforced neutrally between religious and non-religious people, it did not violate the former. amendment – although in practice it led to specific charges on minority religious denominations.

Over 30 years later, Smith is a fascinating case study for reflecting on how political divisions actually work – especially our pandemic-era arguments about security versus freedom, individual rights versus health obligations. state public. Not only the decision, but its reception and shifting partisan valence speaks volumes about the flexibility of what appears to be a stern ideological tenet – and how people take on new positions on politics as soon as internal and external groups move forward. , the people benefiting and the people overwhelmed, seem to be reversed.

Start with a seemingly simple question: Was the Smith decision conservative? It would appear to be the case just by looking at how the judges’ positions have broken down, with Scalia the conservative icon writing the majority opinion and three dissenting liberal judges.

But the backlash against the decision was bipartisan, with liberals and religious conservatives denouncing the new restrictions on religious freedom. The result of this reaction was the 1993 Restoration of Religious Freedom Act, offering believers more legal protections, which was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and the Senate by an overwhelming majority before being passed. be promulgated by Bill Clinton.

So maybe Smith’s logic was so right-wing that even Republicans were hesitant to apply it? Except if you take a leap forward a few decades into our own era, that ideological analysis crumbles. Today, the laws modeled on that act are opposed by many liberals on the grounds that they offer too much protection to religious freaks – which now means not Oregonians ingesting peyote but the unwilling Christian baker. of cake for a same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, among conservatives, Scalia Smith’s opinion is widely seen as one of his worst mistakes, and the Republican-nominated majority currently on the Supreme Court seems poised to erode his candidacies.

Because the legal minds involved in these debates are intelligent, they can find ways to harmonize the changes in terms of ideological principle. But looking at the whole story, you might be forgiven for thinking that the best explanation for Smith’s shifting valence is just a shift in internal and external groups in American life.

The Tory majority that made the 1990 ruling, in other words, perhaps assumed on some level – albeit unconsciously – that they were setting a precedent that would be applied primarily against the New Ages and the hippies, and not against their own traditional religious traditions. The bipartisan reaction reflected the fact that the early 1990s was a time when cultural conservatives and cultural liberals could also imagine themselves as a potentially disadvantaged group. And today’s shift to the world, in which liberals put “religious freedom” in chilling quotes and conservatives lament Smith’s precedent, reflects the growing status of religious conservatism as its own kind of exo – strange and dreaded group, asking for exceptions to legal and cultural rules. rules established in liberal states.

Apply this kind of analysis in the COVID era and you can see the same happening fast forward. At the onset of the pandemic, a political observer might have assumed that faced with a deadly threat – one that has emerged in China, no less – the Conservatives would pass restrictions and quarantines the same way they passed the Patriot Act. and other extensions of federal power after 9/11, while the liberals and the left would accuse the right of giving up too much freedom for security reasons.

Something like this divide existed early on, with conservatives like Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas worried about the epidemic while liberals denounced the potential racism of a “Wuhan virus” panic. But by the end of spring 2020, the whole dynamic reversed: the liberals backed tough government interventions to fight the virus, the right was full of fierce libertarians, and so it stayed most of the time.

You can blame Donald Trump’s early recklessness for establishing this pattern, or the way COVID hit blue metropolises sooner rather than later while taking much longer to take hold in rural areas. But it’s also useful to do a group / non-group analysis, which suggests that conservatives were more willing to support the limitations on freedom that fell on foreigners and international travelers – for them, external groups – but balked at the face. to the restrictions that seemed to fall. most often on their own groups, from owners of closed businesses to pastors of closed churches to parents of young children deprived of school.

For many Liberals, it was the opposite. At first, the idea of ​​a travel ban or quarantine rule seemed overbearing and fanatic as it seemed likely to punish their own constituencies, especially immigrant communities in large cities. But the restrictions that were imposed from March 2020 were developed within one of liberalism’s most intimate groups – the expert class, the public health bureaucracy – and tailored in different ways to meet the needs of ‘other liberal constituencies: the professional class could adapt to virtual work, teachers’ unions could for the most part keep their paychecks without risking their health, and the young anti-racist activists in the spring and summer of 2020 were conveniently considered exempt from the rules which prohibited other types of gatherings.

This same pattern appears in the debate over vaccine mandates. The mainstream right clearly found it easier to be uncomplicated pro-vaccine when anti-vax sentiment was coded as something for crisp ‘left-side’ parents, as opposed to conservatives skeptical of bureaucracy. public health and sharing Facebook posts on ivermectin.

On the other hand, the American Civil Liberties Union, or at least its Twitter account, has ruled that the vaccine mandates “actually more civil liberties” rather than emulating them. It seems somewhat difficult to reconcile with many of his past fears about government excesses in the event of a pandemic – until you consider that those fears likely assumed a right-wing government acting punitive against immigrants and minorities. racial, while now the imaginary target of the Biden administration’s tenure is white, rural and Republican.

The point of noting this dynamic is not simply to condemn everyone involved for hypocrisy. First, many small-scale democratic policies are inevitably only negotiation between different groups on the basis of their immediate interests rather than high principles, and this should not unduly alarm us that the principle often bends to accommodate the defense of his own camp.

Second, there can be a terrible, icy consistency among people who don’t change their mind at all when internal and external groups seem to change. Some of the most consistent people in politics right now, for example, are former Bush Republicans and 9/11 era hawks who talk about Trump supporters who think the election was stolen like they talked about terrorists. foreigners and the national left. In one sense, their principle is admirable, but in another sense, they seem to have learned nothing from the excesses of their own past alarmism, from their mistakes in the war on terror.

Third, changing your perspective because your own group’s stake in a debate changes can sometimes be the path to a stronger principle, greater charity, or both. The years following the Smith case, for example, saw the founding of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which today defends the religious freedom of a wide range of plaintiffs – not just conservative Christian groups, but also the Muslim detainee or Apache defenders. of their sacred land, in search of true coherence in otherwise very different cases.

What is most disturbing about the way the pandemic has crossed polarization is not the inevitable tendency of people to change their principles according to the interests of the group. It is the weakening of the institutions which are supposed to do what Becket is doing and to balance this intra-group bias by holding themselves a little longer in principle. Even if you are in favor of President Joe Biden’s vaccine policies, for example, you would ideally want an organization devoted explicitly to civil liberties to have a slightly more cautious view of a vaccine mandate than a typical Liberal supporter, if not the ACLU doesn’t really have a reason to exist.

At the same time, there were individuals who played a decidedly independent role during the time of the pandemic: liberal journalists and academics skeptical of long-term school closures or overzealous masking rules, libertarian thinkers who have rejected the tendency of their co-supporters to downplay the seriousness of the virus.

This is what a healthy democracy should generate, from a crisis like this – not just new ideological alignments based on group interest, but new groups that can help mediate between our factions. at war on the basis of a consistent commitment to the truth.


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Two Bay Area school districts want to force vaccines on students. Here’s what families and experts think https://cec-ugc.org/two-bay-area-school-districts-want-to-force-vaccines-on-students-heres-what-families-and-experts-think/ https://cec-ugc.org/two-bay-area-school-districts-want-to-force-vaccines-on-students-heres-what-families-and-experts-think/#respond Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:30:20 +0000 https://cec-ugc.org/two-bay-area-school-districts-want-to-force-vaccines-on-students-heres-what-families-and-experts-think/ Proposals to make vaccinations mandatory for tens of thousands of staff and students in two Bay Area school districts are supported by health experts and many families – although some parents and students have expressed their concern. The Oakland and West Contra Costa Unified school boards are expected to vote on the proposed mandates next […]]]>

Proposals to make vaccinations mandatory for tens of thousands of staff and students in two Bay Area school districts are supported by health experts and many families – although some parents and students have expressed their concern.

The Oakland and West Contra Costa Unified school boards are expected to vote on the proposed mandates next week. If approved, these two Bay Area districts would become the first in northern California to do so.

The votes come after school districts closed classrooms and quarantined students in the wake of the delta variant. While children rarely fall seriously ill from COVID-19, school cases have disrupted learning just as teachers try to catch up with students, many of whom have been stranded in distance education for more than a year .

The plan to impose vaccines on school personnel is likely to be much less controversial. The West Contra Costa Unified teachers ‘union supports the proposal and many teachers’ unions nationwide have supported the mandates. But the plan to require injections for eligible students, ages 12 and older, could face further setback.

Still, many health experts have applauded the idea of ​​making vaccination compulsory for school staff and students, saying that getting more people vaccinated would make the school environment safer and less likely to be disrupted anytime it is. a student is positive.

“I think this is a very good idea,” said Dr Jeanne Noble, COVID response director at UCSF’s Parnassus emergency department, who advocated for compulsory vaccination in schools. “Children’s lives have been seriously disrupted by COVID’s restrictive policies. So I think the fastest way for them to get back to normal is with a vaccination warrant. “

Schools have long demanded that children get vaccinated against other childhood infectious diseases, and COVID should be no different, said Dr Peter Chin-Hong, infectious disease physician at UCSF.

“No one complains about getting vaccinated against (measles, mumps and rubella) or tetanus or chickenpox,” he said. “So why quibble about COVID?”

But those who are reluctant to vaccinate could postpone public meetings on the issue to next week. The school board will vote Tuesday in West Contra Costa – which serves more than 28,000 students in the cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole and San Pablo, as well as in several unincorporated areas – and Wednesday in Oakland, which has 50,000 students.



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