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March 13, 2020

In this Issue...COVID-19 and Its Impacts, WEA Voting

Dear HEA Members,

Your professionalism has been on display since the start of this unprecedented national emergency.  Your ability to cope with the stress of changing circumstances has been an inspiration to our students and our families. And your flexibility in how we work during the upcoming building closures will reinforce the confidence our state officials have expressed in guaranteeing our full salaries and benefits for the entire closure period.

Please keep in mind that this closure is unlike anything we have experienced before. Beyond the three days that will be made up at the end of the year, we WILL be working during this closure; we will just be working differently. Please be mindful of your social media presence, and be sure you understand your continued professional responsibilities before making plans during the closure, keeping in mind that those responsibilities may change on a regular basis as the situation evolves.

Much behind the scenes work has taken place between HEA and HSD (and its other Labor partners), and more discussions are underway in terms of what our work will look like under the current circumstances.  Please watch for information and guidance from the district prior to March 19th. In addition, we recognize that proper protective precautions and procedures must be put in place that prioritize your safety as we move forward.  From a union perspective statewide - amongst all labor groups - our goal is to keep members whole, while also keeping them safe. Stay tuned, and please stay healthy!

With deep appreciation and respect,
Sandy Hunt

HEA President

PS:  If you haven’t seen district resources related to COVID-19 yet, please follow
this link.

Substitute Teachers and COVID-19:  Discussions are underway to address the needs of our substitutes (guest teachers), many of whom may not receive compensation during the closure. SEBB benefits are a more complicated question and will be covered in a futire communication. Please be aware that there are three types of substitute positions: 1) Daily Substitutes, 2) Long-term Subsitutes, 3) Substitutes who have been issued "Leave Replacement" annual contracts. 
•    Any substitutes with a “Leave Replacement" annual contract will have continued expectations for professional responsibilities during the closure, and will continue to receive pay and benefits. 
•    We are in discussions with the district regarding continued pay and responsibilities for our Long-Term Substitutes.  One issue they may face is that contracted members on leave, once they learn the revised job requirements of their position, may complete documentation to return back to active service, which would limit the ability of the district to continue to pay Long-Term Substitutes during the closure. If HSD is not able to continue pay Long-Term Substitutes, they may be eligilble for unemployment benefits through WA ESD.
•    WEA is actively lobbying at the state and national levels to access financial support through Labor & Industries and national emergency funds for our Daily Substitutes to be eligible for unemployment beneits.  Please consider contacting your state and local legislators to advocate for substitute access to unemployment benefits

WEA Elections Round TWO:  We recently held elections for WEA UniServ Council Directors and for NEA State Delegates. Based upon the election results, Rainier Council members (That’s Us!) must vote again in a runoff election to determine who will be representing us on the WEA Board of Directors.

Online voting continues through midnight March 22. Please share this email with your fellow WEA members within your UniServ Council and cast your vote.  Go to this website to access your ballot.  We have great candidates, including our very own Zanovia Clark, who remains in that race. Please support the election process and vote!

When you log in, you will find instructions on how to vote and the names of the candidates running to represent Rainier UniServ Council. When you click on the candidate's name, if they provided short biographical information, you will see it pop up there. If you ever need help, simply click the "I Need Help" option, and election support will get back to you within 24 hours so please don’t wait until the last day to vote.