Detroit public school teachers call for strike vote that could keep them from in-person classes

DPSCD continues to negotiate with teachers over new contract

DETROIT – Teachers at Detroit public schools are calling for a strike vote that could keep them from returning to classrooms for in-person learning.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers and the Detroit Public Schools Community District are actively negotiating what the return-to-school plan will look like. A vote is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

VIEW LIST: Here’s what Michigan school districts have planned for the fall amid the pandemic

But the strike vote could quickly put the brakes on any plans for in-person learning when classes resume.

Both sides have been working toward a new contract for the 4,500 members of the DFT -- 3,500 of whom are teachers for DPSCD.

While negotiations continue with no breakdown during the process, DFT has called for a Wednesday strike vote among its membership. The strike would keep teachers out of classrooms for face-to-face learning, but not off the computer screen for remote instruction.

“We are actively negotiation with DFT,” said Chrystal Wilson, of DPSCD, in a statement. “A strike vote is usually called when negotiations have broken down. They haven’t. Why a strike vote now?

“We are now actively working through legitimate questions and concerns DFT has regarding safety concerns with the reopening plan. The district, DFT and teachers will not walk away from our responsibility to serve our children and our community.”

Local 4′s Paula Tutman spoke with DFT President Terrence Martin over the phone.

“We have heard from our members,” Martin said. “We want to continue to negotiate with the district, but we understand if things break down and they don’t get to where they need to be, we want to make sure they have the option to protect membership and our student population.”

You can hear what Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had to say about the situation in Paula’s full video above.

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