I hope you have had a restful but safe summer. Considering the COVID-19 situation, the return to school this year, hopefully virtually, but for now brick and mortar, will be much different than any year past. You may know that USEP filed a lawsuit late last Tuesday in an attempt to return to an all virtual reopening. At the time of this writing, we have not yet had a hearing on that lawsuit. Since we asked for an expedited case, we are hoping to hear something this week regarding an outcome. Please know that USEP has had continual conversations throughout the summer regarding this year’s reopening process. We continue to seek remedies for the concerns our members and union leadership have brought forth. One of the things we have agreed to is continuing the regular pay schedule for most all employees, many who have gone throughout the summer without employment or income. The first regular payday will be August 21, 2020. For that to happen, the two-week time period must be made up. We are still in conversation and how that must be done but seek flexibility for employees in various situations. We are striving to maintain as much of our contracted obligations as possible, but due to the COVID-19 situation some flexibility will be required of all.
This year will also be unique in how we bargain financially for employees as the legislature has put restrictions on much of the funding coming to our district and how it must be used. We will continue to advocate for the best improvement we can for all employees.
USEP is proud to say, once again, that we have met the statutory requirement for density to retain the ability to be the Bargaining Agent for Pasco County employees. While we have met the stipulation, now is a good time to have conversations with prospective members to let them know what USEP is about. We have also agreed to extend our organizing campaign through this Friday, August 21, 2020, and will offer a $100 incentive to any new member who completes a new member registration card by the end of the day Friday.
As you prepare for students, please know that USEP has your back on all concerns related to a safe reopening with students. As things come up, and they will, please contact the Building Rep at your worksite of the concern. Our Business Reps will be working closely with all Building Reps to ensure a good start to this crazy year. We will keep our members informed through updates of progress in dealing with concerns and the two lawsuits in the court system – USEP has a local hearing upcoming and FEA goes to mediation tomorrow with lawyers from the Department of Education. If a decision is rendered favorably in either of these filings, we will get the impact out to you quickly.
Thank you for your faithfulness as members. As always, if we can be of help to you, please let us know. Have a GREAT year!
Don Peace, President