***Come to NY UNIONS FOR CHOICE PROTEST 8-25-21 learn more HERE***
by Michael Kane
Listen to entire town hall HERE
Today’s phone call from UFT President Michael Mulgrew was a mixed bag, but we did find out many important pieces of information. Here is the info at a glance:
- COVID testing for children cannot be required in-school since NYC is not offering a remote option. UFT is bargaining to get a remote option
- In-school COVID testing will still be made available to adults
- Mulgrew signaled, but did not directly state, that adults can choose to get tested in-school or outside with choice of own medical provider.
- Mulgrew stated, “You can’t say unvaccinated should not be allowed to work (in schools).”
- Mulgrew stated details on testing will be “collectively bargained” (details below)
- NYC only testing unvaccinated because they only have the capacity to do 85,000 tests a week.
- Mulgrew said governments can mandate vaccination, said EUA status is irrelevant (which is challenged here), and invoked the often cited 1905 Jacobson case.
- Mulgrew stated one of the “silver linings” of last year’s failure was that it is now definitive that in-person education is far superior to remote.
I am very glad Mulgrew said the words “collective bargaining” in regards to COVID testing of educators. We sent him a list of demands yesterday and it looks as though Mulgrew will be pushing to secure much of what we have asked for. Seems that way, for now.
Most importantly he stated that while there would be an option to get COVID tested in school, he signaled outside testing may also be acceptable. This is one of the key areas TEACHERS FOR CHOICE is suing NYC DOE over in the case BUENO vs NYC DOE. That Article 78 petition has been in front of a judge approximately 80 days and we still don’t have a ruling as of yet.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that students cannot be force COVID tested in-school this year. The reason why is that in the case AVILES vs DE BLASIO the court ruled it was legal to kick children out of in-person education for not consenting to COVID testing because they were placed on remote learning. Since that is the only court decision on the matter thus far, it is effectively the law of the land, and NYC DOE has announced there will be no remote option this school year. Mulgrew stated UFT wants a limited remote option and he insinuated UFT is trying to use this to force children to continue COVID testing.
But how is that going to be possible when we have nearly 1 million students and testing capacity is for 85,000 per week?
Mulgrew screamed early, and loudly, “THERE IS NO VACCINE MANDATE.” That is because his counterpart at NYSUT, Andy Pallotta, put out an outstanding statement yesterday saying NYSUT does not support vaccine mandates. That is what I want to hear from Mulgrew, and Randi Weingarten, but we didn’t get that.
Instead, what we got was Mulgrew’s interpretation of what his attorneys have told him about the famous 1905 Jacobson case. Mulgrew insisted this case has always held up in court for over a century to compel forced medical mandates. He did not mention that one of those mandates it upheld was forced sterilization of 70,000 individuals then called “imbeciles,” people whom today we would call intellectually disabled.
So clearly Jacobson has not always been perfectly applied.
He also didn’t mention many other major differences. Jacobson dealt with the smallpox vaccine which provides sterilizing immunity, the COVID vaccines do no such thing and no one is arguing that they do. The smallpox vaccine in Jacobson’s time had been around over a century. The COVID vaccines are barely 1 year old. Lastly Jacobson was never force vaccinated, but made to pay a fine of $5.
However I did appreciate when Mulgrew stated that people need to stop saying unvaccianted educators must be kicked out of school buildings. It is unfortunate, but in NYC such nonsensical, radical rhetoric is common from certain corners, so it is very important that Mulgrew pushed back against it. I thanked him via email for this earlier today.
Mulgrew also stated that everything he was talking about “is subject to change.”