Alex stepped aside to be a vice president in 2020. (He doesn't believe he is president for life or until he can get the AFT presidency or some other well-paid gig.) Cecily Myart-Cruz is now the UTLA President. Under her leadership, UTLA has just negotiated a COVID-19 Contract for the 2021-2022 school year that will be voted on this week by the entire membership. What did Cecily and her team get for her members in what they called reopening bargaining? A pretty good deal if you ask me.
From the summary page on UTLA's site:
Compensation: UTLA members will receive a 5% ongoing raise along with a one-time $2,000 stipend for this school year and a one-time $500 technology stipend for last school year.
Nurses will also be entitled to a retention bonus for each year they stay.
Evaluations: There will be no evaluation for permanent educators who have not received a below standard evaluation in the last five years.
Remote learning: To address severe shortages in the City of Angels online programs, all UTLA members (including members seeking reasonable accommodations) have the option to volunteer for temporary assignment to City of Angels. If additional teachers are needed, the district may temporarily assign some teachers who have been protected from displacement at overstaffed schools. All teachers assigned to City of Angels have return rights to their current school.
Safety: -Continued regular testing of all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, through at least December 17, 2021.
The actual wording on COVID-19 testing from the UTLA LAUSD Memorandum of Understanding:
The District shall make every effort to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of all students
and staff through December 17, 2021. During this time, the District shall continue to
make free COVID-19 testing available to students and staff during normal work hours,
with every effort made to ensure a result turnaround time of no more than 48 hours.
Thereafter, the District shall make every effort to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of
all unvaccinated individuals. The parties agree to meet and bargain over potential
changes to this requirement at the request of either party after December 1, 2021.
Back to the summary:
-Continued mandatory masking, indoors and outdoors, for all people on campus and continued use of MERV filters or equivalent air filtration systems for all classrooms until at least December 1, 2021.
-New LAUSD Quarantine Checklist of required actions by site administrators and the district when a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19 and/or students are quarantined.
-Students who must quarantine will have access to Zoom livestreaming for at least 50% of the instructional day, the timing of which will be determined by the teacher.
For those who believe the live streaming will be a burden on teachers, there are real safeguards built in:
Again, from the agreement:
The District and UTLA recognize that the classroom teacher will provide live access
to their classrooms for quarantined students, but the degree of live interaction with
quarantined students shall be determined by the teacher in order to ensure high quality instruction for and the supervision of in-person students.
D. Classroom teachers providing livestream access for quarantined students or live
virtual instruction if an entire class is quarantined shall not be held responsible for
technology problems that hinder or prevent livestream access for quarantined
students or live virtual instruction if an entire class is quarantined, including, but not
limited to, students being unable to get access to the classroom. Classroom teachers
will notify the site administrator/designee as soon as practically possible when
classroom technology issues prevent student access.
E. The District shall not record classroom teachers providing instruction under any
circumstances without prior approval of the classroom teacher, including, but not
limited to, when they are providing access to live virtual instruction for quarantined
F. The District shall inform students, and the parents/guardians of students that they are
not allowed to record classroom teachers providing instruction under any
circumstances without prior approval of the classroom teacher. Students, and the
parents/guardians of students, shall be required to honor all provisions of the LAUSD
Responsible Use Policy for District Computer Systems.
The language is very teacher-friendly.
In NYC, Michael Mulgrew is our leader. It seems like every time he talks about bargaining with the Department of Education he says the name Mike Sill. What did Sill and Mulgrew get UFTers for this year?
- You will receive $225 on Oct. 31 for setting up your digital classroom.
- Two hours of per-session pay per week for each partial closure of two or more days
- One hour of additional per-session pay per additional course taught in middle and high school (not each section)
Turning on a Zoom for COVID-19 quarantined students this year for a 5% permanent raise in addition to a $2,500 tech bonus in LA and a real remote option or $225 to set up a Google Classroom and a few forced overtime hours at a lower per session pay rate in NYC. Also, most veteran teachers won't be subject to evaluation this year in LA while power hungry administrators are already starting their ridiculous walk-throughs in NYC. I think UTLA has a better deal than the UFT by about a thousand miles.
What did the members of UTLA do to get to this point? The first step was they voted in new, rank and file centered leadership in 2014 and reelected them in 2017. Then, they mobilized and went on strike in 2019. Now they are respected even as they switched leaders.
More proof that the answer in NYC is not to ditch the UFT but to get a coalition together to oust Mulgrew-Unity from power in 2022 and start listening to teachers. The regular LA contract is up in 2022 just like the UFT's. We can follow the LA model. It's up to all of you.