Grievance Filed on Heat in Buildings
After months of discussion with the district about the untenable working conditions during the heat of the summer, we have officially filed a grievance against the district. Read on for the full list of violations and our requested solutions.
We were told by Tim Reed that unless buildings are occupied by students, per district protocol, the chillers could not be turned on. However, we know that chillers have been turned on when principals entered the buildings. This is the action that triggered our grievance. Please let us know the date chillers were turned on in your building.
We wish to thank the many custodians, maintenance workers, and food service people who have already come forward with their stories. We’ll be in touch soon with the date of our hearing, and until then, solidarity!
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Grievance Statement: The district violated its stated policy that unoccupied buildings will not be cooled when it turned on the AC/Chillers in buildings on Monday, August 3rd, and in some cases prior to that, when school Principals returned to in-person work.
The district violated its stated policy AC “to provide a safe learning and work environment where all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect” when they refused to turn on chillers for summer custodial workers because buildings were unoccupied but then turned on chillers when Principals arrived on August 3rd to unoccupied buildings.
The district violated OSHA recommendations that work sites be between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit when it determined that chillers won’t be turned on in summer months.
The district engages in systemic discrimination against workers of the custodial department, who are more likely to be people of color and/or of a lower socioeconomic status than members of the administration by refusing to turn on chillers except when administrators are on school premises.
The district violated CDE guidelines on preventing heat stress in hot working environments by failing to provide extra breaks, increased staffing, responding to hot weather advisories, and increasing the air velocity through chillers/AC units/ and industrial fans.
The district fails to recognize custodians and maintenance workers as people in their definition of occupied buildings.
Applicable Articles, Etc: The district’s policy AC offers employees a safe and respectful work environment free from discrimination. In effect, this policy creates a unilateral contract between employer and employees which makes it subject to the grievance process.
- Redefine “occupied” to include whenever people are present in the building, including, but not limited to custodial staff.
- Allow supervisors to send workers home when an assigned work area reaches higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with full pay.
- End the practice of district-wide chiller shut downs and allow local control over using chillers when the custodial staff is working.
- Follow OSHA recommendations of keeping work sites between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit year round.
- Follow CDE guidelines on preventing heat stress, including but not limited to, increased staffing and using the AC/Chiller units when available in a building.