We hope you all were able to enjoy a restful April break! Incredibly, we are beginning the final weeks of the 2020-21 school year. It truly has been a year unlike any other, and we deeply appreciate your hard work and dedication in the face of unprecedented challenges and in preparation for yesterday’s return to five days in-person for grades K-8.
In case you missed it: As COVID-19 rates persist and even increase in some Massachusetts communities, we teamed up with AFT and AFT-MA to launch a multi-platform public awareness campaign underscoring our members’ support for state and local investments in providing the safest possible return to in-person learning for Massachusetts students. We continue to advocate for full funding of the Student Opportunity Act, stakeholder input into the federal ESSER funds, and long-term investements in the schools our communities deserve.
We also continue to seek clarity on contact tracing and submitted the dozens of questions from BTU educactors to the district for response. We also are working with the nurses and Health Services to improve supports for student surveillance testing – we know that high participation is important to its success, but that high participation also requires additional staffing supports. We also met last week with BPS regarding the results of the ACH (air exchange) testing, and discussed what corrective action has taken place. We will continue to follow up with the district and have asked for a school by school list of corrective actions for any reports below the agreed upon 3 ACH minimum standard.
The BTU received an arbitration award last week in a grievance filed alleging that the BPS engaged in improper direct dealing with members and failed to submit a contract to the joint BTU-BPS Steering Committee. The arbitrator ruled in the union’s favor, and made clear that principals or heads of school cannot make special arrangements regarding working conditions, like teaching schedules, prep time or compensation without negotiating with the union. This is known as “direct dealing,” and is prohibited by our contract and labor law. The arbitrator also stated that the BPS must submit any and all outside contracts that affect the “teaching-learning situation in the classroom” to the Steering Committee before entering into the contract. Please let your field rep know if either of these are happening in your school.
In addition to our Union Election (please see the special bulletin from yesterday), Building Rep elections will be taking place in May as well. As a reminder, please see the guidelines from the BR Handbook on rules and regulations to follow as these votes are cast. Please remember that those running for Building Rep should not be facilitating the vote. Voting for Building Reps can take place either or in-person or electronically like last spring. If you have any questions, please reach out to an organizer.
Reminder: Do we have your correct mailing address on file? It is important to us that we are able to reach all of our members by phone, mail or email. Please check here to make sure we have your correct information.
Lastly, have you gotten your vaccine yet? If you haven’t gotten your Covid vaccine and are looking for an appointment still, please visit our vaccine resources webpage to find an appointment today.