Workplace Safety

Education Community: Shift to All Remote Learning Unless Stronger Protections Are in Place

With the surging COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) infection rate — the highest since May — consistent statewide safety protocols must be established and strictly enforced, along with uniform transparency in reporting and responding to cases, for schools. If that's not possible, Connecticut must shift to full-time remote learning until after the holidays. Those are some of the required statewide steps outlined in the Board of Education (BOE) Union Coalition's "Safe and Successful Schools Now," report released today.
 

Education Coalition Responds to Misguided State Policy on "Prolonged" Remote Learning

The coalition of unions representing over 60,000 public education employees issued the following response to state guidance yesterday regarding local school building COVID-19-related closures:
 

Backus Hospital Nurses Secure New Contract That Ensures "Great Quality Care" for Region

NORWICH—Registered nurses at the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, yesterday voted nearly unanimously to approve a settlement with the hospital, which followed a two-day strike. The agreement reached Saturday with Hartford HealthCare (HHC), which operates the 213-bed acute care facility, improves protective gear policies and empowers the caregivers to address staffing issues. The pact also resolves long-standing recruitment and retention concerns by making significant economic investments in the workforce.
 

Students, School Staff and Families at Risk Due to Lack of State Policy Following COVID-19 Outbreaks

Just days after the majority of Connecticut students physically returned to the classroom, more than a dozen school districts across the state reported positive COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) cases. From Newington to Naugatuck, Waterbury to Glastonbury, and East Hartford to West Haven, varying degrees of action have been taken at each impacted building. Some have shut down completely, others isolated cohorts of students and put classes in quarantine, some moved to all distance learning, and others did little or nothing.
 

Demanding a Voice in Reopening Safely

Members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions have for the past four weeks taken center stage in the debate over fall "back to school" plans. Teachers and education personnel have repeatedly called for prioritizing students and staff health in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Efforts culminated this week in public actions organized with labor allies demanding state officials put safety first. 
 
Click here to sign and share our board of education (BOE) union coalition's petition.
 

Winning Hassle-Free Workers' Comp for "Frontline Heroes”

Union activists in late July last month scored a major victory in the fight to protect “essential" employees recovering after contracting COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) on the job. Governor Ned Lamont on July 24 issued an executive order establishing a workers' compensation “presumption" for those sickened during their service on the frontline of the pandemic. The action followed months of pressure coordinated by the state’s labor movement and which engaged members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated unions.
 
Click here for the official executive order. 
 

Educators Take to the Streets in Coordinated "Safety First" Car Caravan Rallies

From Stamford to Stonington, Hamden to Hartford, and more than two dozen towns in between, teachers, education personnel, students, parents and advocates today joined school "Safety First" car caravans. The purpose was to demand safety and health precautions — and much-needed funding — in Connecticut public school building reopening plans. 
 
Click here for video coverage of several actions.
 

CT's Students, their Families and Educators Need a Lifeline, Not an Anchor

Today Connecticut Education Association (CEA) President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel released the following joint statement regarding the state education department's plan for reopening school buildings:
 
 

New "Back-To-School" Plan Needs More Specifics - Raises Serious Health, Safety Concerns

Today Connecticut Education Association (CEA) President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut Vice President Mary Yordon released the following joint statement regarding Governor Ned Lamont's proposals for resuming in-person learning:
 
 

Giving Voice to "Overwhelmed" Educators

A third survey of teachers jointly coordinated by labor and media partners presented a complex picture of distance learning challenges during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. The effort was conducted at a critical time, helping guide the work of the official state "re-open" advisory group's education subcommittee. Union members' input ultimately proved instrumental in prioritizing student and staff safety, helping assure that buildings would remain closed for the current school year.
 
Click here for the full survey results.
 
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