NBEA reaches agreement with District on School Closings due to State Health Shutdown

Dear Members,
I want to update you as to the status of our talks with the District about the closing of schools in New Bedford due to Coronavirus.

The NBEA received word from the District on Sunday, March 15 that Governor Baker had ordered that all schools in the state be closed until April 7. Immediately, I sent a request to bargain any and all changes to working conditions, to the Superintendent. His office and myself began to work on this language at once.

The NBEA’s first goal was to ensure that all educators will continue to receive their full salary and benefits from the District. To this end, the the NBEA has now secured a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to the Contract to ensure this in writing.

The MOA was negotiated by the President of the NBEA with the assistance of First Vice-President Fred Pearson, Vice President of Unit A Chuck Lapre and Vice President of Unit B Jeff Longo. NBEA also consulted with MTA for direction and advisement.

The negotiated MOA was sent to the NBEA Executive Board for review and approval this morning. Do to the inability to hold an emergency meeting in person, the Board was given until 1PM to vote by e-mail. The Board voted unanimously to approve the MOA. A ratification vote was not possible, due to the unforeseen need for this measure, the lack of time, and most importantly, the inability to have a meeting of the membership both for logistical and health concerns. Because of this the NBEA Executive Board voted unanimously to approve the signing of the MOA without ratification.

The MOA, as well as an FAQ, is available in the members section of  the NBEA website.

The MOA states:

1.     Effective March 23, 2020 through April 6, 2020 all Unit A staff are expected to be available for remote work during their normally scheduled hours.  Remote work may include, but is not limited to grade entry, communication to families/students, data analysis, providing remote instruction/remote instruction assistance, professional development, and other activities related to the Unit A job descriptions. Any disagreement as to what constitutes remote learning for any professional employee will be addressed in a meeting with the NBEA and the District.
2.     All staff are expected to check their email frequently, throughout the workday, and respond to/acknowledge emails in a timely manner.
3.     All Unit A staff working remotely will be paid their full salary, including ELT stipends.  No Additional hours or stipend payments connected to clubs and/or spring athletics will be paid.
4.     Those serving as mentors and mentor coordinators will continue their mentoring activities and receive their mentoring stipends as scheduled.
5.     This agreement shall sunset at the close of business on April 6, 2020 unless an extended closure of schools is required.  If an extension of school closure is required, the District and the Association will meet to discuss the terms of that extended leave.

The NBEA office is closed during this time of school closures in New Bedford. However, I will still be working remotely to support any members concerns on this or any other matter. Please address questions to nbeducators@yahoo.com and I will try to answer them in as timely a manner as possible.

In Solidarity,

Christopher Garcia
President
NBEA