Negotiations Update: Potential Strike
Hello SCUSD Families,
As you might have heard, one of our five labor partners, Service Employees International Union 1021 (SEIU 1021) announced on social media yesterday that they intend to strike on April 22 and 23, the first two days of our district’s secondary students’ return to campus.
As of now, SEIU has not formally informed the district that they intend to strike next week.
Please know that despite this unfortunate news, we remain focused on reopening our schools to our students who have opted for in-person learning. After more than a year without in-person instruction, we cannot delay this critical work for our students who have started to return to schools. Fifty-eight percent of our students are currently in-person, and we expect that number to continue to increase as we see case rates drop and immunizations delivered. At some schools currently in-person students make up approximately 80%.
“We honor the work of our labor partners and recognize that this pandemic has presented challenges for working families,” said President Christina Pritchett on behalf of the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education. “We understand that child care has been a challenge for many of our employees. Child care is a national and statewide issue that urgently needs to be addressed. However, our students need our schools open. Our students have been without in-person instruction for over 365 days and are looking forward to returning to campus together. We know our schools serve as safe havens – providing access to not only academics, but also food, support, and social and emotional care. This is especially true for our district, which serves vulnerable students, with 70 percent of Sacramento City Unified students low income, foster youth, homeless and English language learners. We look forward to a productive conversation under the guidance of a state-appointed mediator. We invite SEIU to welcome our students back to in-person education with us.”
On April 5, after over a month of unsuccessful negotiations with SEIU, our district declared impasse in our negotiations and filed a request with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) seeking the assistance of a state-appointed mediator to help the District and SEIU attempt to reach an agreement. Impasse is a formal declaration that continued negotiations would not be productive to reach a formal agreement. PERB granted this request on April 12 and moved the parties into mediation. Discussions between the District and SEIU will continue as part of the mediation process with the assistance of two State-appointed co-mediators who will meet with the District and SEIU. The parties are tentatively scheduled to meet on April 19, 2021. We look forward to reaching resolution together.
The main disagreement between the parties has been related to stipends for SEIU members and child care. The district presented SEIU with a proposal that included up to $2,850 in stipends and reimbursable expenses for members, and would allow many SEIU members to bring their school-age children to work. The district also agreed to provide informational resources such as the Employee Assistance Program to help members locate child care options.
SEIU has indicated that the strike is about the health and safety of their employees. With respect to health and safety of our students and our employees, our District has put in place strict measures that are consistent with state and local guidelines and requirements and has gone above and beyond these with measures that have been agreed upon by the district’s four other labor partners and by other districts throughout the Sacramento region and state.
We have worked so hard as a team to welcome back our students and couldn’t have managed the last year of this unprecedented pandemic without the tireless efforts of our employees. We provided millions of meals to our families, kept our district operating, we partnered with local health officials and partners to provide vaccination clinics for all of our employees. We are moving in a positive direction.
We look forward to a productive conversation under the guidance of a state-appointed mediator. We will keep you informed about this matter over the next few days.
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. The following offers have been made by the District to SEIU:
- 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 school sites 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
- SEIU members may request N95 masks through the district’s established process
For additional information about the impasse process and our negotiations with SEIU, please visit our Negotiations Dashboard and our recent Negotiations Updates, which list additional details about proposals by SCUSD and SEIU.