Update from President DiClemente (7-23-20)

Update from President DiClemente (7-23-20)
July 24, 2020

Sisters and Brothers, please take note of the following updates:

SCHOOL REOPENING GUIDELINES: The New York State Education Department has submitted guidelines for school districts as it relates to providing instruction to students; whether remotely, in person, or a combination of both (hybrid). Upon reading all 145 pages, the Union is in the process of compiling questions and suggestions for the District; many of which center around employee safety.

The District has not yet made a decision as to which model it will choose, but they will need to submit plans to the State by July 30th. Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small has met with all four of the bargaining units to gather input and we are continuing to meet bi-weekly. We are also participating in weekly meetings as members of the District’s Operations Committee and Health & Safety Committee.

While the ultimate decision rests with the District as to which model they select, compliance with mandatory guidelines set forth by the state will need to be implemented. The Union will also request additional supports to ensure the safety of our members. 

I will be sending a letter to the District in the next week or two that will consist of a list of questions and recommendations and would ask that you please send me your input, concerns, and questions as soon as possible via e-mail to dan@bentelocal2419.org.

Once the document is compiled and sent to the District, a copy will be sent via e-mail to all BENTE members. Please make an effort to regularly check your District e-mail and the BENTE Union website at www.bentelocal2419.org for updates, as procedures to comply with New York State and Department of Health guidelines are frequently changing.

E-MAIL TO ALL STAFF: One of the guidelines specified from New York State has to do with screening questions that must be completed daily by all staff members who are physically reporting to a school district work location. In the next couple of weeks, all staff members will be receiving an e-mail every day from the District directing them to answer four questions related to COVID-19. If you are not physically reporting to a district work location that day, then you would simply check that box and you do not have to respond to the questions. If you are reporting to a district work location that day, then you must complete the questions. The District will be sending out a more detailed explanation, but if you have any questions on this process, please do not hesitate to e-mail me directly.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE): Should the District decide to move in the direction of any form of in-person learning, personal protective equipment will be provided and required to be used by staff, students and visitors. In addition, AFSCME Council 66 has purchased small bottles of hand sanitizer and cotton cloth masks that will be distributed to all BENTE members.

FEDERAL BILL: We are working in conjunction with our local delegation and our AFSCME political representatives to lobby for a bill in Congress that provides sufficient aid for state, local governments, and school districts. The spike in COVID-19 cases in red states has forced Senate Republicans back to the table to negotiate another stimulus package. July is our best chance for this to happen before the August recess. On behalf of the 8,500 members in AFSCME Council 66, I have sent letters to all of our congressional representatives in New York State, urging them to pass a bill that provides more funding for the services our members provide.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Due to the fact that many conferences and workshops have been canceled, we have revised the guidelines for professional development. The Union will no longer pre-pay for in-person conferences, as it is a burden to recover funds when events are postponed or canceled. Reimbursement will still be provided upon proof of payment and completion of the course/workshop.

LABOR DAY PARADE: This year’s Labor Day Parade and tickets to Sea Breeze have been canceled by the Rochester Labor Council due to the pandemic.

If you have an issue or comment, please do not hesitate to e-mail me directly at dan@bentelocal2419.org.

In Solidarity,

Daniel DiClemente, President


“The Support Staff that Supports Students”

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