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November 2020 Negotiations Update

BFT Action--November 2020

BFT Presence at the SF Labor Rally!

BFT members joined with other unions from around the Bay to  call for renewed organizing in our workplaces and communities!
King Middle School Teacher Julie Searle and her husband David Solnit were integral in bringing art to the event!
BFT Member and Rosa Parks Teacher Margot Pepper.
We are thrilled to announce that both BFT endorsed BUSD School Board Candidates have won their elections. You were essential in educating Berkeley voters to vote for Laura Babitt and Ana Vasudeo, and we're excited to welcome both Ana and Laura to the School Board in January.
Covid Testing Update

BFT has taken the position that student testing must be a high priority part of any hybrid reopening plan. Covid testing for students continues to be a challenge for districts throughout California. BUSD is working with outside groups to develop a workable testing plan for students. 

Staff testing will be provided by Curative at the Berkeley Adult School. Starting November 13, all staff who are working in person on any campus will be required to be tested. This includes teachers who are working alone in their classrooms. BUSD is working on a plan to provide staff testing at sites. We will continue to advocate for this plan. 

BUSD sent instructions for how to contact Curative to schedule your test.Contact your administrator if you have questions about how to access Curative testing.

Phase 1 Update

BUSD plans to begin a pilot program of small student cohorts at three school sites on November 9. Staff will support Distance Learning for students who have been chosen by their site’s intervention team. Since these positions involve supervision rather than teaching, BCCE has taken the lead in negotiating around Phase 1, except in situations that directly involve BFT members.

Phase 2 Update

Elementary schools are allowed to reopen with small stable cohorts, safety protocols and social distancing, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to do so. The school board voted on a January 13 target for beginning TK-2, and a January 20 target for 3-5. But these dates depend on meeting the terms of the MOU and figuring out very complex logistics. BFT and BUSD must negotiate schedules, duties, testing protocols, plans for what happens in the event of Covid exposure at sites and the potential impact of changes in community spread. 

BFT has been holding meetings with elementary members to get their input about how to create a workable hybrid model that will be good for students and sustainable for teachers if and when it is possible to open safely.

The next meeting is for teachers in grades 3-5 on Thursday, November 12 from 3:30-4:30 pm. Here is the Zoom link.

Recent public health guidance also gave permission for secondary schools to reopen with safety protocols, including reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. The complexity of secondary schedules makes a hybrid model difficult to implement. BFT will seek extensive feedback from secondary members when those negotiations begin. 

BUSD plans to convene Educator Advisory Groups and Town Hall discussions to discuss Phase 2 planning. We encourage BFT members to participate in these events. 

There are no agreements in place for Phase 2 hybrid reopenings at any level at this time. 

Payroll Update

BFT recently filed a grievance against BUSD regarding ongoing payroll issues. BFT has asked for remedies to many payroll systems including communication with members when payroll issues occur, electronic timesheets, and virtual tracking. We will continue to monitor this and will file another grievance if there is no remedy. 

If you are currently experiencing payroll issues, please fill out this new BFT Payroll Error Survey. In addition, please send an email to the HR department where the payroll issue resides. If your FTE is incorrect, please contact Glendaly Gascot-Rios in HR. If your benefits are incorrect, please contact Courtney King in Benefits.

If you are not sure what is incorrect, please contact your payroll specialist (for last names alpha A-M, please email for last names alpha N-Z please email


Tech Stipend

BUSD has committed to sending out the technology stipend by November 15.  BFT has made it clear that this is a priority as folks have been waiting for a long time. The stipend amount is $300.

Are you Moving Over on the Salary Schedule Due to New Units?
If so, please remember that you must email a copy of your transcripts to by November 15th in order for your salary to increase this year.

You can also use this new electronic inservice credit form to log hours for attending SST and IEP meetings beyond the duty day and evening committee meetings. 

Veteran Teachers Mark Your Calendars!
STRS Workshop, January 14

This workshop will take place Thursday, January 14 at 3:30 p.m. We'll provide a zoom link closer to the date. 

This workshop is designed for educators approaching retirement, but all members are welcome. STRS counselors will explain the basics of STRS retirement, the three decisions to make when retiring, and what you should be doing to prepare for retirement.

If You Have a Question or Concern at Your Site
If you have questions about your rights under the contract or issues that come up at your site, please check out our FAQs. If you still have questions, contact your Site Rep first for support. Your Site Rep will contact us if they need further information. 
BFT Recent Accomplishments
  • Health and Safety MOU which provides minimum health and safety standards
  • Postponement of Trimester 1 for elementary schools
  • Redesign of elementary report card to better communicate student progress during distance learning
  • Numerous subgroup meetings are taking place at the TK-5  level to gain input and answer questions about Phase 2
Is Your Sick Leave Balance Correct?
All full-time BFT members receive 11 Sick Days each year; part-time teachers receive a pro-rated balance. Additionally, if you worked in another district before coming to BUSD your Sick Leave balance should have transferred with you. It is CRITICAL that you check your 10/31 sick leave.  Add up the Sick Leave days you’ve received each year in BUSD plus any days that transferred with you, subtract a rough count of days you’ve used and check that against the balance on your October 31st pay stub. If it seems like there is a discrepancy, please email Sharon Vernae at with a cc to your Site Rep.
Do You Plan to Retire Next Year? $1000 Bonus Available for Early Notification
Teachers who formally notify BUSD in writing prior to February 7, 2020 that they plan to retire at the end of the current school year will receive a $1000 bonus. To notify BUSD, teachers should use the Retirement form available on the BFT website and scan it into an email to Samantha Tobias- Espinosa
Calendar of Coming Events
11/11/20- Veteran's Day Holiday
11/6/20- End of Trimester 1 (Elementary)
11/23/20-11/27/20 Thanksgiving Break