In this Issue…. Feedback from Members, Data & Progress, NEW GMM Tuesday, Secondary IAC Update, Monday Rep Council, Thank You Notes
February 26, 2021
Important upcoming meetings:
Monday, March 1, 4:30pm – Representative Council Meeting (open to all members),register here
Tuesday, March 2, 4:30pm – General Membership Meeting, register here
Dear HEA Members,
This is probably one of the most difficult newsletters I have written. I know you and your loved ones are experiencing the heartbreak of this pandemic in unique ways. For some, you are keeping yourself walled off from the world. Others have created pods of trustworthy friends and family. There are those who are depressed by remote instruction and the only thing you want is to be teaching in-person. Others are fighting a systemically racist system in which poor healthcare, food and housing insecurities, and lack of access to education equity collide to produce a situation in which both remote and in-person options feel inadequate and unsafe.
What we heard at Tuesday’s general membership meeting
The vote to adopt a March 8 transition start date failed with members expressing a range of concerns:
- Lack of transparency in the allocation of remote assignments that have generated fears that in-person assignments have landed disproportionately on our BIPOC DL educators.
- Shortcomings in health and safety planning and implementation at several sites due to the inattention of the district.
- The need for the bargaining team to take time at the table to address shortcomings or lack of clarity in the MOU Addendum, identified during Monday’s presentation to members slated to return.
We heard also from those who are fearful of returning prior to vaccination or are angry on behalf of members whose only option is unpaid leave. In addition, based on subsequent emails, some members who voted ‘no’ did so because they wanted the transition to start March 1, and did not want to delay until March 8. At the time of the vote, it was not known to HEA leadership whether HSD would pause the opening if our motion did not pass. On Wednesday, the district offered to work jointly with HEA to select an opening date using the collective bargaining process.
Getting data related to the transition
To address member demands, the HEA has requested data on accommodations and remote assignments from HR. We have collected data from HEA COVID Co-captains and are scheduled to jointly evaluate and upgrade Building Safety plans. Finally, to address unresolved issues communicated by members who have been called back, we returned to the bargaining table on Thursday.
General membership meeting Tuesday to VOTE on revised start dates
With the goal of providing everyone with more certainty, the Executive Board is calling for an early General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, March 2 at 4:30PM. (There will not be a meeting this Saturday, since the District delayed the transition date.) As we finalize several aspects of the Addendum, you may have seen the district communication that HSD and HEA jointly agreed to the following anticipated dates for transition to hybrid instruction for elementary students and students in secondary Intensive Academic Center (IAC) classrooms:
- March 11: Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Secondary IACs
- March 22: Grades 2 and 3
- April 1: Grades 4 and 5
This timeline must be approved by the HEA general membership. That vote will be held on March 2 at the conclusion of debate. Please register in advance for the Tuesday March 2 GM Meeting here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Please begin logging in at 4:00 PM, and the meeting will call to order at 4:30 PM.
Secondary IAC Bargaining Update
HEA held a second listening session with secondary IAC teachers on February 24 and identified issues unique to their return. We brought these to the bargaining table on Thursday and made significant progress. We will address safety plan issues along with individual building issues during the upcoming week with a presentation of agreements to impacted teachers on Thursday, March 4 at 4:00. Watch for a zoom invitation to home emails midweek.
Representative Council Meeting Monday
At the March 1 Representative Council meeting (4:30 on zoom), your Building Reps will preview the agreement. Representative Council meetings are open to members and, for this meeting, we will be using a webinar format to allow for larger participation than usual. Please register in advance here if you would like to attend the Monday March 1 Rep. Council meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. The meeting will call to order at 4:30 PM.
At that meeting, nominations will open for President, Vice-President, Specialist, Middle School, and HEA Elementary (A) Representatives on the HEA Board of Executives. Nominations will close at the April 5 Representative Council Meeting. Please email Julie Kastien or Deb Strayer to learn more about the nominations process.
Thank you, bargaining team!
Finally, please join me in thanking our HEA Bargainers: Thara Cooper, Jeb Binns, Zanovia Clark, Claudia Conway, Edissa Jaramillo, and Brandice Tranholt along with the amazing Elizabeth Beck who has worked through breaks and weekends to get this done for us. I am personally grateful for the work of the bargaining teams and pleased to be able bring forward a plan to that will support member confidence and address specific safety and workload issues.
Thank you to Sandra Aguila for your board service
Primary Representative Sandra Aguila is terming off the Executive Board after serving 3 full terms. Her voice as an experienced union activist, HEA leader of color, and DL advocate will be missed. She lives up to her last name (Eagle) with a clear vision and soaring heart.
Sandy Hunt, HEA President