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In this Issue:  Organizing for Counselors, VEBA Votes, HEA Elections, L/M Update, Bargaining, Political Action, Join WEAPAC, Honoring Retirees, Upcoming Events.

May 7, 2021

Dear HEA Members,

Just a quick note to let you know that your HEA leadership appreciates you this week and every week!   On Wednesday, the school board gave a special call out to all educators as well as our nurses, arts educators, counselors and mental health service providers.  That recognition preceded my comments asking them, for the moment, to set aside enrollment concerns and provide one counselor for every elementary school as well as extra counselors to high-ratio secondary schools like MRHS and Aviation.  That allocation would certainly show their appreciation!  

Why is that possible?  The legislature has added a .5 counselor allocation for every Title I prototypical school and placed that funding into the basic education formula, but that doesn’t start until the 2022-23 school year.  I encourage you to be advocating that ESSER funds be used to bridge the gap and provide one full-time counselor at each elementary site during the coming school year and improve the counselor-student ratios at select secondary schools.

Members, please email Kyle Minaglia by noon on May 16 with your statement in support of one counselor/elementary school and equitable ratios at secondary.  You can do this either individually or as a school. … or you can also sign up by noon to speak in person that evening at 6:00.

I encourage you to attend your HEA Building Meeting for an update on all that is happening and to share your issues.  Also, please contact your HEA Co-captains to troubleshoot safety plan implementation issues and cc me.

Wishing you the relaxation you all deserve this weekend,


VEBA Votes.  On May 25 from 4:45-5:15, those retiring or who will start next year with more than 180 days of sick leave can attend an information session prior to a vote on whether to convert sick leave into VEBA funds.  Watch for a zoom invitation coming your way if you qualify.  At our General Membership meeting in August, members will take a vote whether to reauthorize the monthly $50 VEBA deduction from our paychecks.

HEA May Elections Start Monday.  The three HEA Officer candidates would appreciate you accessing your Ballotpoint ballot being sent to home emails on Monday.  Voting continues through next Friday at 5:30PM.  Nominations remain open for Elementary and Special Services Representatives on the HEA Board until June 1.  Please email Julie Kastien to nominate yourself or another member.   We appreciate Julie’s support of the HEA Elections this year as our Elections Chair.

Labor Management Update.  Our discussions occur weekly.  Here are some recent topics:

  • Compensation for the HEA COVID Co-captains and members of building safety committees. This is an ongoing discussion.
  • Implementation of CBA Section 4.5 – Coverage for substitute unavailability, including “Make-up Time.” Non-supervisory certificated staff may claim up to 5 hours of ESC pay (per day) for their usual work that is pushed outside of the contract day while substitute teaching.   They may only claim actual time that is worked outside the regular workday. This is existing contract language and often affects counselors, specialists, and secondary librarians.
  • Mitigation for elementary students converting from remote to hybrid on an individual basis. This is an ongoing discussion.
  • Composition of the District Level Safety Committee, in compliance with state guidelines. This is an ongoing discussion.
  • Clarifications around contact tracing, testing, and school closures continue to be discussed and more will be communicated next week.

Bargaining Reopeners/MOU for 2021-22.  Bargaining will pick up again starting June 17 at 8AM.  Yes, that is the day after school ends!  Watch for bargaining team names to be shared here in the next week or two.  Contractual reopeners include finalizing the calendar and the impact of new funds allocated by the legislature, and of course we will need to negotiate the impact of any COVID-related changes to “normal” operations for next year.  So far five dates have been scheduled through June.  

Political Action.  Candidate Endorsement Interviews will be held with MLK Labor Council on June 12. Contact Leslie Sokolik to be a part of the interview team.  Our very own Iris Guzman, Highline Social Worker and HEA member, is running for SeaTac City Council.  Be part of the team and come meet her and her competition! (But please keep in mind that you cannot participate in the WEA PAC endorsement process for a candidate to whom you have already personally donated money.)

Join WEAPAC today.  Your small donation of $2.25/month goes a long way to supporting candidates like Iris who will amplify the voices of our educators, families, and students.  Joining is easy.  Use this link and in less than 2 minutes you will be an official supporter.
Honoring HEA Retirees.  Watch for a Special Edition of the Efocus where we share special messages from our retiring members.  They will each receive a $100 gift card from HEA for a local restaurant of their choice. Retiring Reps and other HEA leaders will be honored at the June 1 Rep Council Meeting.  Watch for details. Hopefully, we will all be back to in-person celebrations next spring!

Upcoming Events and Timelines
•    HEART Survey – Due May 14 (sent to school emails)
•    HEA Officer Elections—5/10 to 5/14 and 6/7 to 6/11 (home emails)
•    HSD School Board Meetings—5/19, 6/2, 6/23 (note 4th Wed of June)@6:00
•    Monthly Labor Coalition Meeting with Teamsters – 5/10@5:00PM
•    Executive Board—5/24, 6/14, 6/21@4:30
•    HEA Rep Council—moved from June 7 to June 1 (Nominations close for Elem & Specialist Reps)
•    Rainier UniServ Council—6/3@5:00
•    HEA Transformation: Governance Document Review and Revision volunteer task force.  The timeline for this work will start in May but the bulk of the work will take place once school is out.  Please email Sandy to be a part of this groundbreaking work to make HEA a more inclusive union.  Your suggestions and resource recommendations are welcome as well.