Naomi Soldon of Soldon & McCoy Discusses Teacher Unions and the Fight for Remote Learning
Although many students have been back to school for over a month now, a number of Wisconsin teachers’ unions have not given up the fight for remote learning. Since the beginning of September, schools and teachers’ unions have been at odds over safety protocols and what many teachers believe to be an unsafe work environment. In response, the American Federation of Teachers has asked its 1.5 million members to participate in ‘safety strikes’ in the event that teachers’ concerns are unheard. Soldon McCoy, a Wisconsin-based law office, provides legal counsel to many labor unions on matters such as collective bargaining strategy, DOL investigations, arbitrations, and grievance handling. Nationally recognized as a Tier 1 labor lawyer, Naomi Soldon’s expertise on labor law and experience with labor relations provides their lawyers with valuable insight into the unique problems facing unions today.
Naomi Soldon explains that since the start of COVID-19, many employers have tried to take advantage of the weakened job market to pressure employees for pay-cuts and fewer health and safety measures. Now more than ever, labor unions are essential for employees to keep their negotiating power and fight for additional sick-leave, safety protocols, and hazard pay. Recent studies have shown that workers covered by a union contract are 26% more likely to have employer-sponsored health benefits than their non-union counterparts. However, for teachers’ unions, an impasse in discussions with Wisconsin school boards have often been reached over health and safety concerns related to in-person learning.
For members of teachers’ unions, health and safety are their number one concerns. In a June survey, many teachers reported that they would be comfortable returning to the classroom if schools designed effective safety protocols for the classroom. However, many months have passed since June, and new reporting of COVID-19 cases is at an all-time high, with the most recent reports showing nearly 3,000 new cases daily. Once again, teachers are questioning whether or not children of certain ages can adhere to social distancing guidelines at school, and if there is a way to resume in-person learning safely.
Ms. Soldon and the other attorneys at Soldon McCoy understand the grievances and frustrations of teachers and their unions. In the state of Wisconsin, every worker has a right to a safe workplace free of hazards that are likely to or which may actually cause injury or death, according to state and federal laws, like OSHA. During these difficult times, Naomi Soldon is committed to providing the best legal counsel to unions in the Midwest. Please subscribe to the blog and feel free to comment and ask questions for Naomi to review.