“Pay us now!” demanded United Educators of San Francisco members at a press event held March 14. The delegation that followed the close of the press conference has now become a sit-in.
Over 100 educators and other union members gathered at the steps of San Francisco Unified School District’s central office starting at 4:00 p.m. Following a short press conference featuring community members, educators and UESF president Cassondra Curiel, a delegation of almost 20 people trailed by print and TV media went up to the offices of district management responsible for a debacle over pay. They intended to deliver a set of letters and negotiate a solution to the crisis.
Educators noted that SFUSD transitioned to a new payroll system, Empower, that has left almost a thousand educators unpaid and resulted in a myriad of other issues affecting pay, benefits, sick days and more. Some haven’t been paid properly for two months! Union members spoke to the impacts this had on educators who are already facing an incredibly difficult year. At the press event, union lawyers announced that they would be filing a lawsuit for pay with interest.
As the delegation reached the third floor, a spirited picket line started outside chanting, “Cut the checks now!” Educators and supporters inside and outside the building demanded that the district pay their educators and fix the broken pay system. A key demand was for accountability — as the people in charge of the payroll changes have not had to face any accountability.
District management at first refused to meet with the educators’ delegation but within an hour Superintendent Vincent Matthews arrived at the building. He offered platitudes but no real solutions and refused to meet the demands. The educators have since decided to continue the sit-in until the demands have been met and have called for a People’s Board Meeting at 5:00 p.m. at 555 Franklin St. on Tuesday, March 15.
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