BENTE Union Update (8-25-21) -- CBA Update, COVID-19 Information

BENTE Union Update (8-25-21) -- CBA Update, COVID-19 Information
August 26, 2021

Please take note of the following updates: 


Raises for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be in the paycheck dated September 10th.  They will not be in the paychecks this Friday. The September 10 payroll will contain the pay period of August 16-20 and August 23-August 27. 

We do not yet have a date as to when the retroactive pay will be paid out, but it would be for any hours worked between July 1, 2021 and August 16, 2021. 


Thanks to everyone who submitted an opinion on the issue of mandatory testing for those individuals who are not vaccinated. There are strong opinions on both sides of this issue.  

Many on the side of not getting the vaccination have cited discrimination or an attempt to take away the freedom to choose what to put inside your own body. Our legal team at AFSCME Council 66 has researched this extensively. Mandatory vaccinations have been litigated in the past, and the courts have consistently sided with employers. Religious exemptions and medical conditions have been the only exception.  

New York City recently announced that all school employees will have to receive one dose of the vaccine by the end of September, coinciding with the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The Rochester City School District has not taken that position. The RCSD is mandating weekly testing if you choose not be vaccinated.  

The Union has pushed back hard on the testing being done on an employee’s own time, as that is the strongest case we have. After our discussions yesterday, we believe that there is a good chance that the District will provide the testing on site during the workday. If not, then we are prepared to file a grievance on the matter. Members on both sides of the issue were unified on this point. 

Below is a series of questions we asked yesterday, along with the District’s responses: 

What is the purpose of this policy and what is the District trying to achieve? To encourage more individuals to get vaccinated without mandating the vaccine. The District is claiming that they have already seen an increase in vaccinations since the policy was announced. 

Is the District requiring a rapid test or a PCR test? Either test will suffice. 

Why is the agreement with Walgreens? Because they have many locations, as well as the staff to handle the capacity.  

Does this apply to Walgreens in Monroe County or in other counties as well? Not sure, they will check on this. 

Do you have to make an appointment every week? Yes, and you should not have a problem getting an appointment as long as you do not try to book an appointment the same day. 

What is the testing procedure from start to finish? Employees will fill out a form acknowledging they are a District employee. The District will receive a list of District employees who tested each week. Results of the test will be provided to the employee and the Monroe County Department of Health. If the test is positive, the Department of Health would notify the District. The employee should also notify the District’s Benefits Team upon learning of a positive test. 

If an employee tests positive, how long do they have to stay out of work? Until cleared by the Monroe County Department of Health (currently ten days). 

If the test is positive, can an employee use quarantine leaves available, as well as their sick time? Yes. 

Will the District consider holding a vaccination clinic, similar to what has been done with flu vaccines? The District will look into the requirements to hold an onsite clinic through Walgreens. 

Are people who recently contracted Covid that are unable to get the vaccine required to test? No, they will have a ninety (90) day window from the date they tested positive for the virus. 

Is one dose of the vaccine sufficient to stop the testing requirement? No, both doses are needed. If employees get the first dose today, then by the time testing is required they should have both doses.  

Do employees who are approved to work remotely need to test? Those working remotely part time and on site part time need to test. The District is still reviewing whether or not employees approved to work remotely every day need to be tested.  

What about the booster shot? At this time, the District has no position on the booster shot and will follow CDC guidelines. 

Will there be a public forum where workers can voice their concerns about the new policy? Members can always voice their opinion to the Board of Education at any public meeting by signing up to speak. 

Are temps, contractors, First Student bus drivers going to need to supply a vaccine card or negative test to RCSD Benefits? Vendors have been notified of the need to comply with the policy if their job requires them to come into contact with students.  

What about staff in charter schools? Yes, staff in charter schools also need to comply with the policy. 

In Solidarity,  

Dan DiClemente, President  
BENTE/AFSCME Local 2419  

“The Support Staff that Supports Students”    

If you have an issue, comment, or question please do not hesitate to e-mail me directly at 

<< back to list