Randi Weingarten Goes For Teacher Vaccine Mandate

Randi Weingarten Goes For Teacher Vaccine Mandate

Randi Weingarten Goes For Teacher Vaccine Mandate

Get your popcorn, people, because this fight over vaccine mandates is about to get interesting.

Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), one of the two largest teachers’ unions in the country, just went all in on vaccine mandates for teachers. Why now? “Personal conscience,” she claims.


The entire interview can be watched here.

Now comes the fun. I don’t know where Weingarten is getting her numbers, but here is what she claims.

Weingarten pointed out that vaccine requirements wouldn’t be new to schools.”

“Since 1850, we’ve dealt with vaccines in schools. It’s not a new thing to have immunizations in schools,” she said.”

“Vaccines are the single-most-important way of dealing with COVID.”

She added that around 90 percent of teachers who are members of the union have already been vaccinated against COVID-19. The union says on its website that it has 1.7 million members in the US.”

The National Education Association, which is the nation’s largest teachers union with a reported 3 million members, says on its site that it “encourages widespread use” of coronavirus vaccines.”

However, The City reported that, as of the end of July, only 60% of public school employees in New York City were vaccinated. While that must also include administrative and support and custodial staff, it also includes teachers. Given the rates of vaccination among other public sector staff in New York City, I highly doubt that the number of school secretaries not getting vaccinated is the reason that the percentage is so low.

And despite the fact that teachers got moved to the front of the vaccination line (and then refused to get back into the classroom by twisting the arm of the CDC), many teachers don’t want the union to mandate vaccines. And before today, Randi Weingarten agreed with that. Only last week, Jonathan Chait was trying to figure out why the teachers’ unions weren’t mandating vaccination.

Yet somehow the unions opposing a vaccine mandate have largely escaped the left’s moralistic fury. Not all unions have refused to require their members to get their shots as a condition of employment. (AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka has endorsed a mandate). But the teachers unions have played an especially prominent obstructive role. Union leaders, even if they have pragmatic goals, have to negotiate internally with their own activist base and its extreme ideas.”

Last Winter, National Education Association president Becky Pringle came out against even prioritizing vaccines for teachers. “We don’t want to be in the business of putting a hierarchy in place, because some of our members are being bullied into returning back to classrooms,” she told the Times in December. “That’s not safe, we don’t want to support that.”

“Teachers should have the right to decide whether they want the vaccine or not,” Weingarten explained in a Nation story two months ago, lauding the unions for protecting their members. “We have been very careful in this early stage of pushing back when someone has said that the vaccine should be mandatory.” The story containing those remarks ran under the headline, “How Teachers Fought for Their Safety in the Pandemic — and Won.”

So, what kind of game is Randi Weingarten playing now? Because this IS a game to her.


Well, consider what the Chicago Teachers’ Union is now saying.

In a Wednesday letter addressed to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Public School officials, and members of the school board, CTU said “new pandemic variants pose immediate threats to the health of all Chicagoans, but especially our unvaccinated student population.”

CTU applauded Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent mask mandate for students returning to schools this fall, regardless of vaccination status, but said its “school communities need more than masking to ensure safety – especially as we continue to learn about the delta variant.”

CTU listed recommendations for ensuring safety. Among these was the maintenance of criteria and health metrics based on the prevalence of COVID “to pause in-person instruction.”

Yes, you read that right. The Chicago Teachers’ Union wants to be able to “pause” in-person school when they “feel” like the COVID case numbers get too high. How is that going to mesh with what Randi Weingarten is now saying?

What it means is that there might be a battle royale incoming between teachers’ unions and the rank-and-file who don’t want to be vaccinated. This is amusing because the rationale of the left has been all about PUNISHMENT when it comes to the unvaccinated, because they assume that those who don’t get vaccinated are the unwashed red-state MAGA Trump voters. If the teachers’ unions don’t fall in line with leadership, then get ready to watch the ruling class of the left’s preconceived narratives crumble into dust.

So what is Randi Weingarten doing? Practicing self-preservation. She preached a “school renaissance” only a few weeks ago, and then waffled about whether or not schools should open in the fall, and now she wants a vaccine mandate for teachers. She is looking to keep her position of power by any means necessary. And that means she’s going to go whichever way the wind is blowing. With elected officials now forcing down vaccine mandates on public sector employees, Randi is racing to make sure she follows the lead of her Democrat buddies. Randi Weingarten does not work for the children, or for the rank-and-file teachers. She’s working to make sure that she stays in the good graces of the Democrat establishment – and gets to keep her open line to the CDC to keep dictating terms.

After all, it is always about power.

Featured image: Randi Weingarten in February 2020, photo by Keith Mellnick via Wikimedia Commons, cropped, CC BY 2.0

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