SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – After working without the proper pay and benefits for several months, teachers in San Francisco are taking their grievances to the next level. The teachers union has filed an official complaint against the school district.

“There has never been a time that even my predecessors can recall a situation like this, where so many people have been impacted by a lack of solutions on payroll issues. There has never been this many issues before,” said Cassondra Curiel, the president of the United Educators of San Francisco.

The primary issue is teachers not being paid what they are owed over the past nine months for services rendered due to the new Empower payroll system in the San Francisco Unified School District. The San Francisco Teachers Union filed this unfair labor complaint with the state employment relations board. 

“It means that we have evidence of hundreds and hundreds of cases that we’ve collected over the last few months on the basis of the work that we’ve been doing for the course of this calendar year against the district for a lack of solutions and refusal to fix our issues regarding Empower: the payroll system,” Curiel said.

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The issues related to the Empower payroll system prompted SFUSD Superintendent Matt Wayne to announce a payroll declaration state of emergency which includes:

  • Removing bureaucratic barriers to compensate staff who experienced issues of non-payment
  • Partnering with the city and county of San Francisco to address systemic issues related to health benefits
  • Launching a call center to provide an improved response for staff reporting issues 

Union officials say the unfair labor complaint represents the beginning of legal action by the United Educators of San Francisco against the school district for failure to comply with the contract. It could take several months before the state renders a ruling or judgment one way or the other, but teachers are not getting paid right now. KRON4 asked Curiel how long she thinks people can hold out.

“Folks are already under duress and stress being a teacher in this current political climate, and the cost of living in San Francisco,” she responded. “So, this issue only compounds what the rest of the nation already going through. Is it affordable to be an educator anymore? Is it something where we can make ends meet? If our employer cannot deliver the ends, then we can’t make our working obligations.”