Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, AFT and the District have been negotiating Memoranda of Understanding covering special, Covid-related changes to working conditions. We have been able to negotiate these MOUs according to a process called “effects bargaining,” in which changes to working conditions (like the shift to all-online instruction at the beginning of the pandemic) allow unions to bargain over the effects of those changes outside the regular contract bargaining cycle. When we set out to negotiate a Fall 2022 MOU, however, the District refused to consider our proposals, with their Chief Negotiator claiming that faculty were no longer facing effects of the pandemic and saying we are now “back to status quo.” The District later changed course and agreed to negotiate an MOU specifically over the effects of changes in masking requirements, which the District implemented in June of this year.
While AFT proposed a more expansive Fall 2022 MOU so that faculty could better support our students, the District insisted that all MOU provisions be narrowly related to the change in masking requirements. Thus, the MOU as settled is fairly short. It includes the following provisions:
- The District will continue to make N95s and surgical masks available to all students, faculty, staff, and community members who want them. The District acknowledges its obligation to comply with county and state public health orders.
- The District will consider accommodation requests from faculty who need an accommodation due to their own medical condition; from faculty who live with someone who is immunocompromised, cannot be vaccinated, or is not adequately protected by vaccination; and from faculty who live with a child under one year of age.
- Faculty who are teaching in-person or hybrid classes and need to isolate due to testing positive for Covid, or need to care for someone required to isolate, will coordinate with their dean to find a way to cover the in-person portion of instruction. Possible ways to cover the in-person portion include pivoting to online delivery or identifying a substitute.