Update from President DiClemente (8-7-20) - DISTRICT REOPENING

Update from President DiClemente (8-7-20) - DISTRICT REOPENING
August 7, 2020

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

CUOMO AUTHORIZES SCHOOLS TO REOPEN: Governor Cuomo has announced that due to the low COVID-19 infection rate in New York State, schools can reopen. For the full story, please click on the following link here.  

Yesterday, myself and a few members were live on WXXI’s radio show “Connections” hosted by Evan Dawson for one hour. We discussed how the reopening of schools will impact essential support staff. To listen to the show, please click on the following link here

REQUEST FOR NEGOTIATIONS: The Union has submitted a Request for Negotiations to the RCSD on a variety of topics. A date has been scheduled for August 18. Please do not hesitate to contact me at dan@bentelocal2419.org with any other topics you wish for us to address prior to the opening of school. The letter is attached in this e-mail. 

TIME AND LABOR: Please be advised that all employees will need to enter their time into PeopleSoft. Your time will no longer be entered for you centrally. In order to continue to get paid, please be mindful of the fact that you have to enter your own time; whether you are physically reporting to work or you are working remotely. The time should be entered as “REG”.   

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. All staff members should 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 prior to arrival. 

COVID-19 RELATED ABSENCES: Please be advised that we are working to find out more information regarding absences related to COVID-19 for people defined as “high risk” or employees taking care of a family member in the “high risk” category. 

RIP SISTER BENCE: This past week, BENTE/AFSCME Local 2419 lost a union sister who worked as a clerk at Edison. Deb Bence, wife of Wayne Bence, who recently retired from the RCSD as a Maintenance Mechanic, passed away unexpectedly at the early age of 51. Her fighting spirit will be sorely missed as she embodied the meaning of a union sister. Her husband, Wayne, said the following: “I will always hold you in my heart: you were my love, my motivator, the lady that kept me going when the times were hard. I'm glad you married me, it was the best 30 years of my life.” 

FEDERAL STIMULUS: It is no secret that in order to continue to pay for the services our members provide and to purchase the required PPE and other equipment needed to keep us safe, the District will need a significant increase in aid. It is equally as important for the RCSD to know these figures sooner rather than later, which is why we are pushing for another stimulus package from the federal government prior to the Senate going on recess. If something isn’t passed by Congress soon, it will wait until September, making it difficult for the RCSD to predict revenue and expenses.  

SIMMER DOWN NOW: We have been in touch with our AFSCME representatives in Albany regarding the latest early retirement incentive bill, but you should know that this is one of about five that are currently circulating through the legislature. The most recent one is currently a one-house bill (no Assembly sponsor) AND sponsored by a member of the Senate minority – all of which mean that this particular bill will not become law. 

The governor’s office has already said that they oppose early retirement incentives and have no interest in passing one. That doesn't mean that it couldn't happen if revenues continue to plummet and if we get no federal aid. It just means that it’s unlikely at this time. 

Lastly, almost all of these bills, including the most recent ERI bill that happened before Cuomo became governor, are targeted bills, which means that employers get to pick who is eligible and who isn’t. 

Thank you once again to all members who have been working throughout the pandemic, whether in-person or remotely. You have played an invaluable role in keeping the community safe and running during this difficult time. 

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 

BENTE/AFSCME Local 2419 

“The Support Staff that Supports Students” 

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