We started negotiations with LAUSD this week to discuss the district’s plans for the new school year. We know instruction will continue online but there are also many Local 99 members who will be reporting to work at school or job sites. Whether your job will require you to be online or on campus, it will be up to all of us to stand strong during these negotiations to ensure safe, fair and equitable working conditions.
Earlier this summer we developed five Principles for Reopening Our Schools. Our bargaining team will use these principles to guide our discussions with the district.
One of our primary goals will be to ensure that all students have the supports and services they need while on distance learning – and into the future when it is safe to go back to school.
To this end, we will fight any layoffs or cuts to hours. During this time, students need more support, not less. In June, the school board voted on a budget that included cuts to Community Representatives, Education Aides, School Supervision Aides and IT Technicians. As we negotiate with LAUSD, we will all need to support our bargaining team to protect these positions, re-imagine the work that’s needed and defend against any other cuts the district may try to do.
We will also need to stand strong for:
- hero pay for those required to report to a worksite,
- additional staff and training to support students with distance learning
- adequate PPE and other safety measures
Look for a survey soon that will help our team identify key issues as we negotiate over the reopening of schools. Keep in mind that the pay and protections we secured in the spring when schools first shutdown are all on the table in this new round of negotiations.
One bright spot is that, due to SEIU members’ efforts, the 2020-21 state budget signed by Gov. Newsom included protections for custodians, food service workers, and transportation workers. At least for now, there will be no layoffs for these positions. But the state budget only offers a temporary solution for the upcoming school year. We need to work hard to pass Proposition 15: Schools & Communities First in November to ensure more permanent funding for our schools.
Finally, while we have been focused on addressing reopening plans and other issues related to COVID-19, we are also making plans to begin negotiations for our full contract this fall. This will include the wage re-opener for the third year of our current contract. Stay tuned for more information on this.
The COVID-19 situation continues to change and it will challenge us to be flexible as we adapt to changing needs. I’m confident that, together, we will be able to move forward.
Let’s all stay strong, safe and united.
P.S. I encourage you to join our membership meeting on Tuesday, July 28 at 4pm for the latest information. Register here.