For Immediate Release: Jan 6. 2022
Media Contact: Amanda Hart, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-631-4437
SFUSD Management Fails to Agree to Safe Operations of Schools; Delays Bargaining for Another Week
Unions of SFUSD are urgent to reach agreement and left frustrated and disappointed as SFUSD management delays negotiations on vital Covid health and safety
San Francisco – After several hours of bargaining, the SFUSD Management concluded today’s negotiation session without reaching an agreement on Covid health & safety protections to keep schools operating safely, leaving Union negotiators frustrated and disappointed.
The Unions of USD – United Educators of SF, SEIU 1021, United Administrators of SF, IFPTE Local 21, and the Building Trades – came prepared with three straightforward asks: access to high quality (N95/KN95/KN94) masks for all school staff and students; weekly testing for all staff and students; and an extension of the current sick leave for Covid. These measures are the very basics necessary to keep schools operating safely for all staff, students, and their families.
The District voiced concerns about the financial cost of providing sick leave for staff that has to quarantine due to COVID-19. The District claimed they needed more time to run the numbers. They left the table saying they would get back to the unions on additional dates to reconvene next week. “Hundreds of educators and staff are out sick due to this highly contagious variant, and this health and safety agreement is crucial to combating the spread, keeping everyone safe and our schools operating. Taking days to run numbers on a sick leave you have been offering to staff for the last year is unacceptable. We expect the District and City to treat this like the crisis that it is and provide the most basic mitigation strategies,” said UESF President Cassondra Curiel.
According to data collected by the District, over the first three days after winter break, the number of daily cases reported by SFUSD students and staff increased more than 13 times, from 9 cases reported on Monday, January 3 to 122 cases on Wednesday, January 5. The Unions are willing to work tirelessly to reach an agreement on health and safety so our schools operate safely during this pandemic. Students and staff deserve to see the urgency from all of us that this surge is demanding.
“We are incredibly disappointed that the management of SFUSD didn’t come to the table better prepared to reach agreements that keep our students, staff, and schools safe and to finalize this agreement today,” said Rafael Picazo, SEIU-1021 SFUSD Chapter President. “Omicron is spreading so rapidly through the school system we can’t keep classrooms staffed properly or keep people safe, especially when this new variant is proving to impact our students more so than other variants. The very least the school district could do is continue negotiating and come together to do what we know needs to be done to keep our staff and students safe: masking, testing, and staying home when ill.”