Topic: Safe Workplaces

Article Coronavirus Up Front

Looking forward to life, work, and union without COVID
Embracing opportunities the pandemic has brought forward

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

The last year and a half of my communications with you have told the story of the COVID-19 pandemic, our union’s early responses to the changes wrought by the virus, our diligence in keeping school communities healthy and safe, and the first glimmers of hope as vaccines became available and community spread began to decline.

Article Coronavirus

Pandemic underscores essential nature of classified work
Custodians, health aides hold strong; unions help members get vaccinated

Throughout the COVID pandemic, CFT members from early childhood centers to community colleges have shown how essential classified employees are. During the past 15 months, techs helped power an overnight transition to online learning, custodians learned how to hit back at the coronavirus, and health aides are now on the front lines of reopening schools.

Article CFT Convention Coronavirus

Pandemic relief on the way: Kamala Harris, AFT leaders, Stanford physician
American Rescue Plan and COVID-19 vaccinations

AFT President Randi Weingarten addressed the CFT Convention, expressing thanks and gratitude for all the members have done—pivoting from the classroom to online, providing food delivery, and bringing hotspots to neighborhoods. Education workers did all this while taking care of their own children, living in homes with multiple generations, being at risk due to pre-existing conditions, and mourning people who had died from COVID, Weingarten said.

Article Coronavirus

Governor extends COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Summary of changes in Senate Bill 95

On March 19, Governor Newsom extended COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to provide California employees with two weeks of paid sick leave when they cannot work for reasons related to COVID-19. To qualify, you must work for an employer with 25 or more employees. This bill applies to both public and private sector workers. SB 95 takes effect on March 29, 2021, and will be applied retroactively to January 1, 2021. It expires on September 30, 2021.

What does Supplemental Paid Sick Leave provide?

COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave provides two weeks of fully paid leave, up to $511 per day. These are in addition to California Paid Sick Days and to any paid sick leave taken by a worker in 2020.

However, employers are not required to provide this in addition to paid sick leave under federal or local laws that already meet these requirements. So, if a locality guarantees workers two weeks of such leave, as does Los Angeles County, for example, then that worker is only guaranteed two weeks of leave.

Additionally, if an employer guarantees workers two weeks of such leave then that worker is only guaranteed two weeks of leave. Employers who are already giving this leave—and workers who already have it—do not get an extra two weeks.

How can you use this paid sick leave?

SB 95 provides paid leave if you cannot work or telework because:

  • You are subject to a quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19.
  • You were advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • You are attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • You are recovering from symptoms of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • You are caring for a family member who has COVID-19, or who has been advised to self-quarantine.
  • You are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.

When can you take this paid sick leave?

Although it takes effect on March 29, 2021, it applies retroactively to January 1, 2021. If you already took leave in 2021 for COVID-19, you can ask your employer to pay you for the time you were out of work, up to 2 weeks. Your employer should pay you in your next pay period. COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave will expire on September 30, 2021.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Michael Young Legislative Representative   

Telephone (916) 696-0563

Download the Legislative Update

Article Coronavirus

California education unions release school reopening plan
CLASSES — A Pathway to Bringing Students Back to Schools 

California teachers and classified employees want nothing more than to be back in our physical classrooms and school sites and know first-hand there is no equal substitute to regular, in-person learning.

California’s schools are the heart of their communities. For many of our most vulnerable and underserved populations, they are lifelines. The educational, social and emotional needs of California’s students, particularly those who often lack the technological and additional education support to sustain distance learning, are of paramount concern. 

Article Coronavirus

Governor releases new “Safe Schools for All Plan”
Consolidated website for K-12 schools, proposed guidance for in-person instruction

On January 14, the California Department of Public Health released several important resources related to the state’s K-12 schools and COVID-19. Our summary below is meant to guide members and local unions through the new materials, especially the changes and most critical elements. The governor and the CDPH are still developing additional resources, so watch for updates about the plan in the coming weeks.

Read the CFT press release here.

The key changes announced on January 14 include:

Article Coronavirus AFT

Another round of federal stimulus signed into law
$900 billion COVID relief package extends unemployment benefits

On December 21, Congress passed a long-anticipated additional round of COVID relief legislation as part of the Bipartisan-Bicameral Omnibus COVID Relief Deal. The legislative package — the result of last-minute frantic negotiations — provides more much-needed relief to individuals, education, hospitals and businesses in response to the economic distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Article Coronavirus

The pandemic — reopening, regrouping, testing and protecting
K-12 locals put safety first, find communities on their side

The week after Thanksgiving, Mariah Fisher, president of the Novato Federation of Teachers and a middle school drama teacher, said she was ready to go back to in-person teaching, starting that week. She had marked off six feet of space between all the desks and she was preparing to teach acting to students wearing masks.

Article Classified Conference Coronavirus

Virtual Classified Conference educates, unites, entertains
How the pandemic has changed our unions
PHOTO GALLERY

CFT capped an unforgettable year with its first virtual Council of Classified Employees conference. The November 14 online meeting focused exclusively on life with the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were also warm moments of old friends seeing each other, the occasional technical glitch, and a madcap show of goofy eyeglasses.

CCE President Carl Williams welcomed the virtual participants, who appeared in thumbnail windows around the computer screen to be as happy as Williams was to be gathered together — at a distance.

Article Coronavirus Workers Compensation

New Workers’ Comp law deems corona-related employee illness occupational injury
Quick Facts: SB 1159

On September 17, Governor Newsom signed SB 1159 (Hill, D-San Mateo), which directs the Workers’ Compensation system to presume that an employee’s illness related to coronavirus is an occupational injury and therefore eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if specified criteria are met. The bill creates a “rebuttable presumption” for healthcare workers, first responders, or workers on any worksite that has an outbreak of COVID-19.

Article Coronavirus Elections 2020 Wildfires

Unions are the anchor during a perfect storm
Locals navigate pandemic, reopening, wildfires, elections, social unrest

Facing the threats of COVID-19 and wildfires, local unions and districts across California are trying to figure out how school will look this semester.

• • •

Orange County was one of the first to push for in-person instruction after it had been prohibited based on the county monitoring list.  At the beginning of the summer, the members in the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers were pretty much evenly divided about that.

Article

State Dept. of Health issues reopening guidelines for higher education
Includes areas of note for community colleges

The California Department of Health released its reopening guidelines for higher education on August 7.

While most of the guidance is geared to four-year colleges and universities, there are also some significant areas of note for the community colleges, which are summarized here.