Socorro union scores big victory with over $1 million in back pay to school employees robbed of leave days

Socorro AFT’s efforts to right a wrong over Covid-19 leave paid off big Monday night when the Socorro ISD School Board voted to return leave days and docked pay to employees from an unfair policy over Covid-19 testing.

The dispute started when the district forced employees to get a PCR test if they had been exposed to the virus or had shown symptoms. While the mandated test was good policy, the results for some employees were not. Because of testing backlogs, employees sometimes waited up to five days or more for results and approval from the district to return to work. If test results were negative, the employees were still required to use personal leave days to cover that time off waiting. Some employees with no leave left were docked significant amounts of pay—in some cases up to thousands of dollars.

Socorro AFT’s position was that the district should provide the required leave. After trying to work with the district to resolve the issue, the union filed an associational grievance. The School Board ended up restituting employees without having to hear the grievance.

“Our teachers and staff endured some of the most challenging times this year,” said Veronica Hernandez, Socorro AFT President. “We are especially excited that our employees will now be able to regain their lost personal days or docked days after simply following SISD administrative directives.”