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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.