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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.
 

"Securing Our Wins" Before the Pandemic Hit

Local unions' collective bargaining efforts immediately following the declaration of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) crisis as a public health emergency focused on the pandemic's impact. At the same time, final action on several negotiated agreements before Connecticut residents were urged to "stay safe and stay home” was delayed. We're highlighting two such examples of new contracts finally in force but which at the peak of the crisis faced uncertain outcomes.
 

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:
 
 

Reminding Politicians Union Members Already "Saved the State Billions"

The news media last week thrust state employees' contractual benefits into the spotlight following Governor Ned Lamont's public remarks at his daily COVD-19 (novel coronavirus) briefing. His comments further renewed attempts by Republican legislators to push for unlawfully breaking collective bargaining agreements. Elected officials have clearly forgotten the significant labor savings already shoring up the state budget — and must adopt better policy choices than more concessions from union households.
 

Comments on Protests for Justice Following Murder of George Floyd

AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel today made the following public remarks in response to demonstrations across the state and country demanding accountability for last week’s police killing in Minneapolis:
 

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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