February 23, 2021
The Seattle Education Association is the voice for educators and our students, standing united to address the needs of our community during this pandemic and to transform our district into an anti-racist school system where every student thrives.
From the Bargaining Table
 
We are all one school community - educators, administrators, families, and students – surviving dual pandemics. Chronic underfunding of our schools (and our community) is making the current crises that much more difficult.

Following the science, we are at the bargaining table working hard to operationalize the layered mitigation strategies recommended by the CDC and others to ensure that any in-person services are as safe as possible for everyone – understanding that there is no such thing as zero risk.

We are also working to reach agreement on an instructional model that equitably brings students back in-person that meets the needs of the school community. This is not an easy task; our bargaining team has stepped up and have the capacity to get this done.

Get to know the SEA bargaining team by watching this video:
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
 
Monday’s email from HR about In-Person Accommodation Request put both educators and administrators in a precarious situation.
 
We do not believe anyone should be requesting accommodations yet because we don’t know what the instructional model will be until we reach an agreement. Educators cannot make an informed decision to apply for accommodations or leave until they are clear on what the workload impacts of the model will be. Plus, accommodations and leaves are being negotiated for a return to in-person. There could possibly be new accommodations and leave available to all educators upon reaching an agreement.
 
When employees emailed the accommodations office stating they were unsure what their duties or working conditions would be, the district’s response directed educators to contact their supervisor and discuss the details of their return. This is setting up administrators to be direct dealing with SEA members on issues subject to negotiations. Educators should not be talking with their supervisor or administrator about the district’s proposal for in-person instruction. This would be grounds for an unfair labor practice (and is not good-faith bargaining).
 
Today, we have seen an updated email from the district saying to disregard the latest communication about talking to supervisors. The email still implies that educators should request accommodations now to ensure it is processed prior to any in-person return. Again, this is misleading. Currently, we have not yet reached an agreement on the accommodation timeline. It does not have to be processed now. However, if directed to talk about accommodations by your supervisor, ask the question, “Are you directing me to do this (insert duty ask)?” If the answer is yes, comply and contact your SEA representative and sea@washingtonea.org. Do not risk insubordination.

Question: How do I apply for accommodations or leave if I am in a high-risk category?
 
  • Answer: WEA has provided template letter for employees who may need accommodations or a 504 due to the COVID pandemic. Access the accommodation template here. Also see pp.35-40 of MOU to read about Accommodations, Leaves, & Benefits and Alternative Work Assignments in more detail.
 
Question: When will in-person start for students in SPED intensive service pathways and prek-1st grades? The latest email from SPS suggests the new start date is March 8.
 
  • Answer: Our current August 2020 MOU clearly states, “The parties will meet to bargain modifications to this agreement prior to implementing changes in the working conditions and expectations of SEA represented employees.” In other words, we have the right to negotiate the impact and implementation of the proposed in-person services. We will remain in the remote model under the current MOU while we continue to bargain with the District. March 8 is another arbitrary date the district identified without collaborating with us.
 
If you have any additional questions or concerns related to the information above, please contact us at sea@washingtonea.org.

Upcoming Engagement Opportunities

Join us to hear bargaining updates and to provide feedback to inform the bargaining team’s work. All members are welcome!
 
Please plan to attend one of the following listening sessions this week.
 
Wednesday, February 24, 12:00-1:00pm. Drop in during your 30-minute, duty-free lunch. Register in advance for this meeting:
 
Friday, February 26, 5:00-6:00pm. Register in advance for this meeting:
 
Saturday, February 27, 1:00-2:00pm. Register in advance for this meeting:
 
Additionally…
Wednesday, February 24, 4:00-5:30pm. Be our ears and join the special Seattle Public Schools School Board work session during which the school board will discuss next steps and planning for fall. The meeting will be broadcast on television or can be viewed on the SPS TV YouTube channel. To listen by phone, dial 206-800-4125 and use Conference ID 931 417 102#. 
How to Stay Connected:
The 2019-2022 Contracts are posted on the SEA Website!