Bargaining Update: Wednesday, January 5

Bargaining Update: Wednesday, January 5

The TALB & LBUSD Bargaining Teams met all day today. School safety was the primary focus, although we had a lengthy conversation surrounding the District’s financial footing and exchanged contract proposals on language for Counselors and Psychologists.

Exclusionary Pay & Worker’s Compensation
From January 1, 2021 through September 21, 2021 employees had access to COVID-19 supplementary sick leave under labor Code 248.2. (80 hours or 10 working days.) This could be used for:

  • Caring for Yourself: The covered employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 (see note below), or has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to COVID-19, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Caring for a Family Member: The covered employee is caring for a family member who is either subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 (see note below) or has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to COVID-19, or the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 on the premises.
  • Vaccine-Related: The covered employee is attending a vaccine appointment or cannot work or telework due to vaccine-related side effects.

This expired on October 1, 2021.
Today, the District has made a commitment to provide exclusionary pay and worker’s compensation pay retroactive to October 1, 2021. What does that mean?
Exclusionary Pay – An employee who was excluded from work because of a workplace COVID-19 exposure. If you were sent home from work for exposure or told to quarantine from October 1, 2021 going forward, you may now recoup those sick days.
Worker’s Compensation Pay – An employee who became ill with COVID-19 and can reasonably attribute their work location as the nexus of exposure and infection from October 1, 2021 going forward, may now recoup those sick days. How to document you were infected at work? A staff general notification of exposure, administrative communique of exposure, parent/student contact notification of COVID-19 positive.
Details are still being fleshed out and we hope to have more specifics by Friday, January 7, 2022. This should help those who have lost accrued leave since October 1, 2021 and help those going forward who need to quarantine or become ill with COVID-19 during this omicron variant surge.

Staff Meetings
The District agreed to have the mandated 4 hours of meetings a month be held via zoom until further notice. The caveat being they were not confident that communication to all site administrators could be accomplished this week. To give credit where credit is due, some site managers have already made this week’s staff meeting virtual. If you are at a site where your administrator is being proactive, please thank them. By Friday, the District is confident all sites will be informed that ALL staff meetings will be virtual via zoom.

Testing for COVID-19
The Association has been inundated with calls and emails regarding the unavailability of COVID-19 tests. Whether it be at the site level or for personal use. Hind sight is always 20/20 and the proverbial adage – “would of, could of, should of” comes to mind. Large systems, like Los Angeles Unified (how often do we point to LAUSD as an example?) committed resources earlier in the pandemic to test all students and staff. It is unfortunate that LBUSD did not make that same commitment. From our understanding, it was not because of a lack of resources but a lack of political courage to truly mandate all students and staff be tested. If you remember in the fall, parents had to opt their child into testing. So while we used to have testing, it really wasn’t testing, more like a random surveillance. Regardless, we are now at place where testing would provide students and staff a modicum of safety even if we know it is a false sense of security. Right now in L.A. county every person who is infected is spreading it to two other people on average. By the time people get test results (48-72 hours) they may have been infected with omicron or the flu, which some genius has named “flurona”.

In any event, LBUSD and TALB have reached out to civic leaders in the City of Long Beach to determine if they have COVID-19 testing capacity. We would not be surprised if they don’t. At home kits promised by the Governor have not arrived yet. The Long Beach Health Department has not fully revised their new COVID-19 regulations to mirror those that Los Angeles County Health Department have instituted. And it doesn’t help that both the County and the City Health Departments decided to revise their protocols on New Year’s eve, two days before school returned on Monday. If you feel a much more robust testing protocol should be implemented please write the Governing Board of Education. Their next meeting is schedule for January 19, 2022 @ 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Juan Benitez – President – – jbenitez1@lbschools.net 562-997-8240
Megan Kerr – Vice-President – mmkerr@lbschools.net 562-997-8240
Erik Miller – Member – EMiller1@lbschools.net   562-997-8240
Diana Craighead – Member – dcraighead@lbschools.net 562-997-8240
Doug Otto – Member – Doug Otto – DOtto@lbschools.net 562-997-8240