- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Washington Teachers Union is threatening to go on strike despite a restraining order reportedly requested by the District of Columbia to deter such action.

Union President Elizabeth Davis said Tuesday in a statement that “a vote of the membership could take place later this week to authorize the [union] executive board to call for a strike on a date to be determined.”

The announcement comes the same day that hundreds of D.C. public school students returned to the classrooms for the first time since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and the union have sparred for months over plans to reopen schools and reached an agreement in December.

The union asked an arbitrator to review possible violations of the agreement by DCPS that were found to be largely unproven over the weekend.

The arbitrator did find that two schools should not reopen until coronavirus safety issues are resolved and building walkthroughs are conducted.

“The WTU, however, believes there are other safety violations of its memorandum of agreement with DCPS and unhealthy conditions at multiple schools. The WTU is asking for additional school-by-school walkthroughs … conducted with WTU, mayoral and DCPS staff,” the statement says.

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine reportedly filed a restraining order against the union on Monday in an effort to thwart a strike planned this week if the union’s arbitration claims did not succeed.

The city claims that D.C. law and the union’s collective bargaining agreement with DCPS prohibit government employees or unions from striking, WTOP reported.

As of midday Tuesday, a judge has not yet issued a ruling on the 14-day temporary restraining order request.

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