SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — In San Francisco, voting is underway to decide if teachers will go on strike. The teacher’s union has been going back and forth with the San Francisco Unified School District since March.
On Wednesday, teachers were venting their frustrations.
It’s not just teachers the possible strike effects. There are also school counselors, nurses and paraeducators, or those who work one on one with special needs students who could walk off the job.
The last time a teachers’ strike happened in San Francisco was 1979.
Around 6,000 educators will make their way through the voting line Wednesday at Balboa High School. A possible strike against the San Francisco Unified School District would impact around 50,000 students at more than 110 schools.
Megan Dukes teaches Kindergarten at Alvarado Elementary School and says the current pay for teachers in the city doesn’t cut it.
“It’s been really difficult, unfortunately, I’ve had a couple friends leave the profession just because they couldn’t make it work,” said Dukes.
The teacher’s union has been in negotiations with the school district for the last six months. Most recently, the district offered $10,000 raises and a $30 per hour minimum for teachers who work with special needs students.
Dukes say educators also have an issue with paychecks not showing up on time and sometimes not at all. The teachers want safeguards in place to prevent that.
“I know there’s quite a few educators who I’m on our site’s UBC who have had to file grievances because they haven’t been paid. Especially other teachers who have had to take maternity and paternity leave haven’t gotten paid still,” Dukes said.
The school district offered no new comments Wednesday but referred to an Oct. 3 statement saying current district proposals are a major step forward to attract and retain qualified educators.
The president of the teacher’s union, Cassondra Curiel, says a possible strike will be about more than a livable wage.
“When we have so many vacancies, when we have such high turnover, when we can’t retain educators, when our classified members aren’t paid enough and when our working conditions impact our student’s education,” said Curiel.
Wednesday’s vote is just to authorize — meaning educators determine whether or not the union president can even call for a strike. If approved, a second vote will happen to determine if educators will strike, when and for how long.