Negotiations Update, April 6, 2021: SCUSD Declares Impasse in Negotiations with SEIU

Post

As a community, we are happy that this week that our district will welcome students back to in-person learning. Our students need the necessary academic, social and emotional support that our school sites provide. We know that families are ready for students to return, as 53 percent of our families have indicated that they would send students back in-person. Our district is ready too, with strong health and safety protocols in place, testing available for students and staff, and after having offered all employees the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

After nearly a month of negotiating with the Service Employee International Union 1021 (SEIU) on negotiable effects related to reopening schools, the District has formally declared impasse. Please view our most recent proposal here as well as SEIU’s proposal here, and additional information available on the negotiations dashboard here

Impasse is a formal declaration that continued negotiations would not be productive to reach a formal agreement. The district submitted the impasse certification to the Public Employee Relations Board yesterday, after notifying SEIU verbally on Saturday, April 3. The next step in the impasse process, if approved, would move the parties to mediation where a State-appointed mediator would work with the District and SEIU in an attempt to help the parties reach an agreement.

As the district is welcoming students back to school on April 8, employees including SEIU members are expected to report to work beginning on April 5 for employees working at our elementary schools and in positions at District worksites other than school sites consistent with existing expectations. This impasse declaration does not change the district’s reopening plans or dates. 

Below is a summary of primary areas of disagreement between SEIU and the District at the time of our impasse filing: 

What the district offered SEIU members

In addition to a plan with robust health and safety protocols consistent with public health recommendations, the district made the additional following offers to SEIU in a good faith effort as part of the negotiations process:

  • A $1,000 stipend for SEIU members recognizing the potential for additional workload and COVID-related expenses to return to in-person services and instruction.
  • A $750 stipend for SEIU members for professional development and preparation days.
  • A $1,000 pro-rated stipend for SEIU members who have worked on-site since July 1, 2020, including but not limited to those employees in Nutrition Services, Custodial services, Maintenance and Facilities, and Technology Support Services.
  • A $100 reimbursement for allowable operating expenses for SEIU employees while they had been working remotely.
  • Option for parents with childcare issues to bring their school-age children to work to be included in the in-person cohorts of their grade level at the school in which the parent is employed (or in the classroom for Instructional Aides) if there is space to safely accommodate children and without disrupting learning.
  • Option of remote work or accommodation for staff with serious health condition or primary caregiver responsibility for family members with serious health conditions when able to meet essential functions of their positions
  • Physical distancing requirements consistent with CDPH guidelines

Additional demands by SEIU

Despite these offers by the district, SEIU countered with additional demands, including:

  • A $1,250 stipend for SEIU regardless of whether or not they return to in-person services and instruction
  • Elimination of the proration of the $1,000 stipend for employees working on site during school closures, meaning that all SEIU members would receive the stipend whether they worked on site or not.
  • A requirement that the district establish four childcare centers staffed by SEIU and SCTA members
  • An additional stipend of $1,500 for SEIU members with a child between the ages of 3-14 who cannot bring their children to attend school
  • Allow employees with children 3 and under to work remotely
  • A $400 stipend for employees who have been working remotely during the pandemic for related expenses incurred
  • Requirement that the district follow outdated 6 ft. physical distancing guidance and not the updated guidance from CDPH and SCDPH which would allow for 3 ft. of physical distancing between student desks in classrooms
  • Additional 3 days of sick leave beyond the 10 days provided under SB 95 related to Covid-19

The district’s proposal reflects its appreciation for SEIU employees across Sac City Unified and recognizes those who have worked on site throughout our school closures. The district’s proposal also recognizes the potential for additional workload and expenditures related to our school reopening.

While the district recognizes the challenge that childcare can present, not just for SEIU employees but employees across the country, the district is unable to meet the childcare needs of employees as proposed by SEIU in their last counterproposal from April 3, 2021. Additionally, although the district has attempted to assist employees by allowing them to bring children to work in some situations where safety and supervision can be provided, this is meant to be a temporary solution through the end of the school year as employees address the issue of disrupted operation of schools and childcare providers.

The district will continue to work with employees through its existing Employee Assistance Program and other resources for identifying child care within the Sacramento community.

Resources and information for locating childcare providers:

The District remains committed to working with SEIU leaders through the statutory impasse process and will continue to share information about our progress in this important work.