After a 16+ hour marathon bargaining session yesterday, UESF and SFUSD have reached a tentative agreement on a Crisis Distance Learning Memorandum of Understanding! Your Bargaining Team based proposals on member-identified priorities, resulting in many significant wins, including flexibility for educators who are parents; a stipend for ALL bargaining unit members to help with the cost associated with working from home; additional training and planning time for all certificated members, paraeducators and substitutes; a SPED task force to address the assessment backlog; a process for members who need access to a District work space; and educator determination in the type, time, and duration of 120 minutes of daily synchronous interaction and instruction.
The Bargaining Team, working in close collaboration with the officers, staff and Contract Action Team, concluded an important step in a difficult process that began in February. The 2019/2020 school year ended abruptly with unexpected school closures and the threat of layoffs as we entered into contract negotiations. In May, thousands of members voted to seek a 2 year contract extension and focus our efforts on negotiating a fall Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As we embarked on this process, it became clear that the District was using the current crisis to misrepresent their budget and force educators to accept unnecessary concessions. Thanks to the close collaboration between the leadership and rank and file membership, UESF mobilized at the end of June and mid-July to make it clear that we need more resources, not less, in order to provide a safe and stable learning environment for the upcoming school year.
Last month, we worked with community partners through our Close the Gap Coalition to hear from families about what their needs and concerns were during this difficult moment. In addition, a dozen of our members participated in several SFUSD task force committees in charge of studying different scenarios for fall instruction. Your union was at the forefront of demanding a safe and manageable working environment for our members while emphasizing the needs of our students and families. At the end of July, UESF concluded that we could not continue discussion about extending the contract because we have different understandings of SFUSD’s budget. The focus of our efforts became the completion of a crisis distance learning MOU before the start of the new school year.
The approved MOU is the result of a historic process for our union. An important goal during these bargaining sessions has been including more member participation and leadership. The Contract Action Team hosted a member town hall that produced over a dozen focus groups that went on to identify top priorities for the wide-range of needs. These priorities were then summarized by CAT members who organized further input via two surveys. With thousands of members participating in both surveys, two public reports were also made available to you, your UESF Bargaining Team, and the District. All of these pieces are what informed the MOU process. We also strengthened our communications. After each bargaining session, a report was promptly emailed and several Facebook Live sessions accompanied these reports.
This Tentative Agreement (TA) is pending a vote of UESF members as well as the SFUSD School Board. While UESF bylaws do not require a membership vote on an MOU, your Executive Board, Bargaining Team and CAT are committed to continuing this democratic process together by taking the TA to a membership vote. Below you will find the full text of the TA and a summary. We encourage all of you to join us tomorrow at 4pm for our MOU Town Hall where the Bargaining Team and Contract Action Team will walk us through the agreement and ratification process. If you can’t make it to the meeting on Friday, you will be able to view a video summary. All members will receive ratification instructions via email Friday evening.