Pay for 2021 Juneteenth holiday (Monday, June 28, 2021)
As you’ve probably heard, the SMCCCD Board has voted to make Juneteenth a District holiday and decided to observe it this coming Monday, June 28, so no classes will be held and the colleges will be closed for business. (In future years, the District will commemorate Juneteenth on June 19th.) AFT has reached out to Chancellor Claire regarding pay for faculty who were scheduled to work on June 28th. We are happy to report he has assured us that those faculty will be paid for the June 28th hours they would have worked. Please check your paycheck for June (scheduled to arrive July 15th) to be sure you are paid for whatever hours you were scheduled to work on June 28th. If you are not compensated for these hours, please contact AFT Executive Secretary Marianne Kaletzky at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are glad the District is observing this holiday while also making sure faculty do not lose income they were counting on.
Covid reopening plans and AFT recommendations
At the June 23rd Board meeting, the Trustees also voted to officially adopt the Covid-19 Recovery Plan Framework presented to them by District staff. These policies include on-campus delivery of student support services beginning in Fall 2021 “unless impossible or impractical,” with continued online services also available; vaccination requirements for all faculty and staff working on campuses, as well as for students taking classes or accessing services on campuses; and a return to full on-site instruction and student support in Spring 2021. You can read the Covid-19 Recovery Plan Framework as it was presented to the Board here (excerpted from Wednesday’s Board packet, where it appears on pages 121-123). The Board amended the recommendations to specify that they are setting a goal of having the District offer at least 30% of sections in person during Fall 2021, while striving towards 50% in-person sections.
As AFT Vice President Katharine Harer emphasized at the Board meeting, most faculty are eager to return to in-person work. But faculty must know District working conditions are safe—not just for us, but also for our students and classified staff. At the June 9th Board meeting, AFT emphasized the need for campus Health and Safety Committees to meet regularly throughout the summer and beyond, as these committees are the primary place that faculty are able to give input on reopening plans. As Katharine noted, we were happy to hear after that Board meeting that Chancellor Claire is charging Health and Safety Committees to meet during the remainder of the reopening process and “standing down” the Emergency Operations Center, so that reopening plans will be discussed with faculty representatives present. We are also looking forward to seeing the District’s plans for sharing information about how faculty worksites meet public health requirements. Katharine explained that many institutions have created building maps showing safety specifications for each and every indoor space, and made them available online to the entire campus community. We want our District to do the same.
Administrators’ proposal on verifying vaccination status
The Board meeting also included an informational item on the specific mechanisms the District can use to verify Covid vaccination status. Administrators explained that Cal/OSHA currently allows three processes for employers to verify that employees are vaccinated (see page 10 of this document).
According to administrators, they are currently recommending that the District use the standard of self-attestation, meaning that employees will not be required to present any proof of vaccination beyond stating that they have been vaccinated. However, the Board has not yet voted on this proposal, and that vote will take place during a future Board meeting to be announced. When the Board does schedule a vote, faculty will be able to make public comments on the administrators’ proposal. AFT will keep faculty informed as we receive information about when the Board will vote on this issue.
Upcoming MOU negotiations
Finally, AFT will begin negotiations for a Memorandum of Understanding that covers Fall working conditions, both in-person and remote, this June 29th and 30th. Our priority is to ensure safety and fair treatment for all faculty, both those who want to work in person and those who prefer to continue working remotely. We will be in touch to give updates on the status of negotiations.