On Masks, Biden Followed the Teacher’s Unions, Not the Science

The Biden Administration frequently promised the American people that it would approach COVID-19 by following the science. However, the internal calendar of Biden Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky shows the Administration is more interested in following the whims of teachers unions instead of “the science.”

Fox News Digital received an internal calendar from the CDC showing that last May, Director Walensky met with multiple union leaders one day before tightening the CDC guidance on masking in schools. While this time may have been better spent conferring with doctors or medical experts, Walensky cow-towed to the whims of the National Education Association (NEA). This notice came after the NEA sent a statement with harsh criticism for the CDC, essentially threatening them with releasing it unless they agreed to the NEA’s demands. The NEA would proceed to release a much softer statement after the CDC altered its guidance based on their concerns. Emails between the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have also showed that the CDC adopted guidance with nearly verbatim language to that “suggested” by the AFT. 

Photo Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a clear pattern of union communications, as opposed to scientific experts, directly influencing CDC guidance. As to why the liberal CDC was influenced more by unions than scientific experts, all one needs to do is follow the money. The NEA alone ranks 40th in election contributions, giving over $20 million in 2021-22 to primarily Democratic candidates and organizations. The AFT, similarly, gave $6.5 million. Unions are the cash cow of the Democratic Party. Over $1.2 billion has been raised by labor unions for Democratic candidates in the 2022 election cycle alone. Plus, over 90% of all union money that has been donated to campaigns has gone to Democratic over Republican candidates.

Even though masks have proven effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19, they are not without their consequences. As early as June 2020, a scientific study was conducted showing multiple adverse side effects resulting from wearing masks for prolonged periods of time in adults, including headaches and impaired cognition. Unlike adults, the brains of minors are still developing. The lack of research that has gone into the side effects of mandatory masking for prolonged periods of time in children made doing so inherently risky to childrens’ health. 

Dr. Neeraj Sood and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya also concluded that “Given the survival rate among children, mask mandates might prevent one child death in the coming school year, a tiny fraction of the approximately 900 deaths of children 5 to 17 years old in 2019.” However, they proceeded to point out that “masking is a psychological stressor for children and disrupts learning.” They also warned that “it is likely that masking exacerbates the chances that a child will experience anxiety and depression, which are already at pandemic levels themselves.” The concerns of these and many other scientists, however, were ignored in order to appease the whims of union bosses with deep pockets.

The money that is forced out of workers’ hands in dues goes straight to influencing the decisions that Democrats make about those workers’ children. Unions have always prevented workers from making their own decisions about what to do with their paychecks. But now, they are also preventing parents from making decisions about whether their children can wear masks in schools. Worse yet, the decisions that unions made for children could have traumatizing effects that scars the mental health of these children for years to come.