CFT President Jeff Freitas hails tentative agreement between unions and SFUSD on safety protocols and vaccines

News Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Hardy, 510-703-5291

CFT President Jeff Freitas’s comments on the agreement reached late last night between the Unions of SFUSD and the administration:

“School communities throughout the state should look to this agreement as a road map for in-person education. San Francisco has shown that the key to in-person instruction is the combination of reducing community spread, implementing multi-layered safety protocols, and offering vaccines to teachers and school staff. The health and safety of students, teachers, and school staff must always be our number one priority.”

The original release from United Educators San Francisco is below:

For Immediate Release
Media Contacts: Amanda Hart, United Educators of San Francisco, 832-969-6956

SFUSD Unions and Administration Reach a Tentative Agreement on Safety Protocols and Vaccines 

While Others Choose to Politicize this Moment, SF Unions Chart a Real and Comprehensive Pathway to a Safe Return to In-person Instruction

San Francisco, CA (February 7, 2021) – After numerous bargaining sessions over the last two months, the Unions that represent workers at SFUSD — educators, custodians, engineers, nutrition services workers, clerks, technology support, administrators, construction craft workers, and others — have reached a tentative agreement with the administration that outlines the baseline health and safety standards and vaccine access to physically reopen public schools in San Francisco. This is a major step forward toward a goal that we share with so many parents: safe reopening of school buildings for students and staff.

In addition to reaching agreement around baseline safety standards, the Unions also negotiated groundbreaking language that provides school district support for vaccine prioritization, availability, and education for their members. Specifically, the agreement allows for a return to in-person instruction in the red tier if vaccines are made available to staff who are currently on site and staff who are expected to report in-person, or return to in-person instruction in the orange tier without the availability of vaccines. 

Additionally today, Unions were able to win many of the health and safety protections they initially proposed to the District in December 2020. Not long after the Unions proposed their December standards, the California Department of Public Health and San Francisco Department of Public Health revised their guidelines which align more closely to the standards for which Unions have been advocating for months. 

Key highlights include: 

  • District support for vaccine prioritization, availability, and education for members
  • District-provided masks and PPE for students and staff
  • Socially distanced classrooms and workspaces
  • Regular and reliable testing for students and staff
  • Health screenings
  • Ventilation upgrades and monitoring 
  • Safe and effective enhanced COVID cleaning protocol
  • Robust contact tracing and plan with County Department of Public Health  

“This agreement sets the stage to safely reopen schools in San Francisco. Now we need City and State officials to step up and make vaccines available to school staff now, while UESF continues to focus on finalizing agreements around classroom instruction, schedules, and continuing to improve remote learning for the students and families who choose not to return even with these standards in place,” said Susan Solomon, President of United Educators of San Francisco.

“Since the pandemic hit almost a year ago, most SEIU 1021 members haven’t stopped working on-site, keeping our schools and facilities clean and providing meals to students and their families. While some people in this city have decided to play politics with our students and our members, the Unions of SFUSD have stayed focused on making the schools safe for workers, students, and our whole community.  We worked together with our union sisters and brothers to reach this agreement we’re all proud of that creates a pathway for safe reopening.” said Rafael Picazo, SFUSD Interim Director of the Environmental Health and Asbestos Department and SEIU 1021 SFUSD Chapter President.

“As site and central leaders, we are entrusted with the tremendous responsibility for the wellbeing of our colleagues, staff, students and families. After being at the table consistently for months, we’ve known all along that the key to keeping our entire school community safe and mitigating transmission in a school setting would require multiple layers of protection to be in place, and we are confident this agreement does just that,” said Caroline Satoda, President of the United Administrators of San Francisco and supervisor in the Professional Growth and Development Department in SFUSD. 

“This agreement, long and hard fought by the Unions of SFUSD, is important for many reasons. For me and the members of Local 21, this is a way for us to have safer workspaces, both now and when schools reopen. I’m thrilled that my colleagues working on site and providing tech support to students will soon have access to much needed vaccines and COVID testing. This agreement points the way forward for the District to open schools safely for all our students and staff. Finally, this agreement shows what we can do when we work together as Union members across organizations to advocate for what our school communities need,” said Jan Gyn, President of IFPTE Local 21 ProTech Chapter.

“Skilled trades workers of the construction crafts stand ready to reopen learning sites safely and under the best possible conditions. We remain clear eyed about limitations due to underfunding, retention and staffing challenges, but nevertheless we see hope in this agreement. We look forward to support from our federal, state, and local leaders to help us realize learning environments and facilities that are worthy of our students,” said Rudy Gonzalez, SF Building & Construction Trades. 

“Our collective voice was heard! After several long all-day sessions over recent months, finally during the late evening hours last night, we were able to reach an agreement with the District that provides for much needed health and safety protections for our members and students. The hard work doesn’t stop here. We will continue to work diligently with the District to make sure these safety measures are fully implemented so that we can return to in-person learning at the earliest opportunity. Our Stationary Engineers have been working very hard on necessary improvements to school ventilation systems, and now with an established health and safety agreement in place, District staff, students, and visitors can plan on being safe while at school sites. The SF community should be proud of the District and each Union’s commitment to ensure that all necessary health and safety protections are in place prior to returning to in-person instruction,” said Stan Eichenberger, Business Representative, IUOE – Stationary Engineers, Local 39.