Our SEIU Local 99 bargaining team has negotiated agreements with LAUSD that secure members’ rights and protections during the COVID-19 outbreak and distance learning. Additionally, an agreement for the eventual safe return to in-person classes/hybrid learning has also been negotiated. As you know, the situation with the pandemic is fluid and we continue in discussions with the district as conditions change and new information becomes available. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from members. If you have questions related to your specific work assignment or concerns about safety on the job, please contact us by submitting this inquiry form.
LAUSD’s is continuing to suspend in-person instruction. What does this mean for Local 99 members?
Most members who have already been working remotely will continue to do so, this includes most members in Unit B. Essential workers in the grab-and-go meal program, COVID testing program and school cleaning and maintenance will continue to work onsite, some with alternating onsite/remote work schedules. Members who had been working at school sites during the fall semester and were re-assigned to remote work after the district suspended in-person instruction in December will continue to work remotely. Pay will not be impacted.
If an employee is in a high-risk category (e.g. has a chronic illness like diabetes or asthma) are they required to report to a worksite? Can they work from home?
Our agreement with the District states that if a worker in any unit is required to report to work and they have documented health conditions that put them at high-risk of contracting COVID-19, per the public health guidelines, they may request other assignments that require minimal contact. The District has agreed that these requests will not be unreasonably denied. If you are in a high-risk category and have documented this with your employer and are still being required to report to work, contact SEIU Local 99’s Member Resource Center immediately by submitting an Inquiry Form.
Are workers required to get tested for COVID-19?
To ensure everyone’s safety, LAUSD is requiring all workers who report to a school or worksite to be tested for COVID-19 every week. LAUSD is providing free COVID-19 tests. The district states that the results are provided within 24 hours so there should be no significant waiting time for you to receive the results.
Should I use my vacation or sick time to get tested for COVID-19?
No. The district must allow you time to get tested while you are on the clock at work and this should not affect your pay.
What if I or someone in my household contracts COVID-19?
You must stay at home. Under our agreement, you will get 100% of your pay for ten days if you or someone in your household has a COVID-19 related illness. If you require additional time off to care for yourself or someone in your household, you may use your sick leave, vacation time or other benefitted leave. Workers may also use leaves under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).
What happens if I am exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19?
You should stay at home even if you don’t have any symptoms. Under our agreement, any worker who is exposed to COVID-19 will get 100% of their pay for ten days.
Will schools or worksites be shut down if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases?
The district’s current policy states that if three or more individuals test positive for COVID-19 at a school site, this will trigger the closure of the school.
Who is eligible for the additional hero pay?
Effective December 10, 2020, all SEIU Local 99 members who are required to report to a physical worksite will receive additional pay of $5.00 per hour. This includes everyone at grab-and-go sites, COVID-19 testing centers, school sites, warehouses and other locations where you are required to be present to perform your work. Please note that at the start of the current school year, the hero pay amount was $3.50 per hour. However, as of December 10, 2020 the amount has increased to $5.00/hour.
What if I am being required to work remotely from home or to complete online training and I don’t have a computer or WiFi?
If you have been given an assignment that requires you to work from home, including on-line training and professional development, you must be provided with the equipment – such as a laptop, phone, internet or other device – to complete your remote assignment. You should request equipment from your site administrator or supervisor. If it is not provided, report it to SEIU 99 using this form.
Can I be given assignments that are outside my regular scope of work?
Because of this crisis, employees may be asked to perform special duties and assignments that are not part of their current job descriptions in order to meet the needs of students and families. Please note that these special assignments are temporary and all workers who are given special duties and assignments must receive training. Training for those working remotely will be provided online. Guidelines have been put in place that specify the scope of these special, temporary assignments. See guidelines for Paraprofessionals, Campus Aides, Speech Language Pathology Assistants, Health Care Assistants, Community Representatives, School Supervision Aides, After School Program Workers, Bus Drivers.
When will we go back to school? What is the plan for returning to in-person classes?
Safety is the priority and the decision to return to in-person classes will be determined by the district based on state and local guidelines and public health conditions. No timeline has been set for returning to school. However, in preparation for the eventual return to in-person instruction, including a hybrid learning model, we have negotiated an agreement with LAUSD that addresses safety and other working conditions for SEIU Local 99 members.
Will LAUSD Bus Drivers be paid Average Pay Time (APT)?
Yes, the school district has confirmed with SEIU Local 99 that all bus drivers will be paid APT and not base rate. If you have issues with your pay, you should notify SEIU Local 99 immediately by submitting this form.
What if I don’t feel safe at work?
Your employer must follow all safety protocols and provide you with all of the necessary equipment, supplies, PPE and training to complete your assignment safely. If you are required to report to a worksite and proper PPE is not available or safety protocols are not being followed, you should let your supervisor know that you cannot work because conditions are not safe and leave the worksite. Immediately document and report it using the SEIU Local 99 online inquiry form. You must not lose pay or suffer any other consequences for refusing to work in an unsafe environment.
Can I be required to work overtime due to the outbreak?
Employers can mandate overtime work in the case of an emergency. If you are required to work overtime, do not refuse the request but document the conversation you had with your supervisor or save copies of the assignment you receive in writing. The employer is required to pay you for all hours worked.
Has the Summer Bridge Program been impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic?
No, the Summer Bridge Program is unaffected because funding for the program was already set aside in last year’s state budget. If you applied by the March 1, 2020 deadline, you should be contributing in the current 2020/2021 school year and be able to withdraw funds this coming summer.
Are Teacher Assistants allowed to be in Zoom breakout rooms without teachers?
The same rules apply as if you were on a physical campus. You can be alone in a breakout room but only for a short amount of time. The teacher should be gone for no more than 10 minutes. Treat it as if the teacher had excused her/himself to use the restroom in an in-person classroom. If you are left alone for long period of time, you should report it to your supervisor or administrator. If the issue is not resolved, please submit an inquiry form to SEIU Local 99.
Does this also apply to Special Education Assistants in Zoom breakout rooms?
Ideally, there should be more than one person in the breakout room, but one assistant is allowed. The teacher should be checking-in every 10-15 minutes.