The head of the teachers’ union said while he is a big supporter of the COVID-19 vaccine, he takes major issue with the details of the city’s mandate for all DOE employees to get the shot.
“Where we ran into a problem — a big problem — was when the mayor announced it, and we went into impact bargaining, and they told us that even though people had a legal right to a medical accommodation or a medical exemption, that they would grant that, but still take them off of payroll. That was it for us,” Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in an interview on “Mornings On 1.”
After pushing back against the city and going into mediation, the UFT’s case is now in arbitration.
Mulgrew accused the city of showing no regard for the work put in by teachers during the pandemic.
“To say that we were angry that the city tried to remove people from payroll—people who actually went into school last year without vaccines—just shows you their disregard for the great work that the teachers of New York City have done," Mulgrew said.
“It was ‘unfortunate,’ is I guess the kindest word for me to use right now, that the mayor took this position," he added.
The city’s Department of Education responded to Mulgrew's comments saying it will work with the UFT on a resolution.
“The health and safety of New York City children and the protection of our employees is at the core of the vaccine mandate. We will continue to negotiate with the UFT to reach a successful agreement because that is what’s best for our school communities," DOE Press Secretary Danielle Filson told NY1.
Mulgrew also said he doesn’t think the city’s plan for coronavirus testing in schools every other week is enough, stating it should happen weekly.
He also believes there will be more instances of virtual learning than the city is letting on.
“I have a feeling we’re going to have a lot more remote than City Hall is talking about right now,” he said.
While all 1.1 million students are expected back in public city schools in five days, each classroom must have a digital plan in place.
This looks like the usual manufactured outrage from Mulgrew. Kind of like last fall when Mulgrew blamed an arbitrator for delaying half of our final lump sum payment when in reality he agreed to delay our money. Now the supposed anger is over getting an exemption from vaccines for those who have medical issues so they are not taken off of payroll. The cynical part of me thinks the city-DOE are working this out behind the scenes and will have the arbitrator agreeing so Mulgrew can say he fought for the anti-vax mandate crowd.
We need much more information on remote learning. Mulgrew says he has a feeling we're going to have a lot more remote but why is there going to be a lot more remote learning? Are the UFT and city negotiating a remote option for every city family or is more remote just going to happen because so many kids and adults in schools catch COVID-19? My guess is it is the latter. I hope I'm wrong.
Please listen to the entire interview.