The largest teacher’s union in the country, the American Federation of Teachers, heavily lobbied the Centers for Disease Control with guidelines on school reopenings. This will be a surprise to no one ever.
The proof is in emails obtained by the New York Post via FOIA. There was extensive communication between the two until school reopening guidelines were published in February.
Americans for Public Trust obtained the documents via a Freedom of Information Act request. They then gave them to the NY Post.
The documents show extensive activity between CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her top advisors, and union officials. Biden brass were looped in at the White House. This all took place in the days before the highly anticipated Feb. 12 announcement on school-reopening guidelines.
“Thank you again for Friday’s rich discussion about forthcoming CDC guidance and for your openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten, and the AFT,” wrote AFT senior director for health issues Kelly Trautner in a Feb 1 email — which described the union as the CDC’s “thought partner.”
“We were able to review a copy of the draft guidance document over the weekend and were able to provide some initial feedback to several staff this morning about possible ways to strengthen the document,” Trautner continued. “… We believe our experiences on the ground can inform and enrich thinking around what is practicable and prudent in future guidance documents.”
The American Federation of Teachers senior director for health issues Kelly Trautner described the union as the CDC’s “thought partner.” That’s according to the emails. And it’s not science, it’s politics.
“The AFT represents 1.7 million educators, healthcare professionals and public employees who spent the last 14 months serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. So naturally, we have been in regular touch with the agencies setting policy that affect their work and lives, including the CDC,” said AFT spokeswoman Oriana Korin, adding the union also worked closely with the Trump administration.
Emails show a call between Walensky and Weingarten — the former boss of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers — was arranged for Feb 7.
They got what they wanted!
In at least two instances, language “suggestions” offered by the union were adopted nearly verbatim.
The AFT also demanded special remote work concessions for teachers “who have documented high-risk conditions or who are at increased risk for … COVID-19.” They demanded and got similar arrangements should extend to “staff who have a household member” with similar risks. A lengthy provision for that made it into the text of the final guidance.
There was apparently some pushback from those who questioned the CDC ignoring the science. Instead they gave in to teachers’ demands. There was plenty of evidence that schools were not a primary source of infections as long as they followed common-sense rules.
Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco has written extensively on coronavirus. She called the CDC-AFT emails “very, very troubling,”
“What seems strange to me here is there would be this very intimate back and forth including phone calls where this political group gets to help formulate scientific guidance for our major public health organization in the United State,” Gandhi told The Post. “This is not how science-based guidelines should work or be put together.”
Only The Post and Fox News, are reporting that government policy that should have been based on the CDC and science was partly designed by partisan hacks.