There are no plans for any Indiana local associations under the umbrella of the American Federation of Teachers to strike. Membership in the state is around 4,500 AFT members at 27 school districts.
Leadership at the Indiana chapter of the nation’s second largest teachers union said Tuesday, if schools can not guarantee a safe and healthy environment throughout the pandemic -- virtual learning should be the only option.
And if school boards won’t approve a switch to remote learning at buildings where educators feel unsafe, teachers could be left with no choice but to walk out.
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) approved a resolution last week to support so-called “safety strikes” among local unions if health precautions at schools are not met. The AFT has 1.7 million members.
GlenEva Dunham, president of the AFT Indiana, says the state chapter supports the national resolution. Teachers are not allowed to strike under Indiana labor laws, but experts have said little could be done to stop it.
“The members of AFT Indiana will not be bullied or threatened to return to situations that are not safe," Dunham said during a virtual press conference.
There are no plans for any associations under AFT’s umbrella to strike in Indiana. Membership in the state is around 4,500 AFT members at 27 school districts.
"We are watching it day by day,” said Dunham, who is also the Gary Teachers Union president. “We are just asking them to keep us safe. If they don't keep us safe, we will go to the next step."
The AFT's national resolution also calls for schools' in-person reopening to happen only if the community infection rate among those tested is below 5 percent and the transmission rate is less than 1 percent.
AFT Indiana is demanding: coronavirus testing and contract tracing must be available in local communities for schools; “safe guards,” such as providing proper personal protective equipment for teachers; and educators in schools have all resources they need.
On Tuesday, the Indiana State Department of Health added 836 confirmed COVID-19 cases to the state's total, raising it to 69,255. The new cases were confirmed Aug. 3. The seven-day infection positivity rate is 7.3 percent.