Sep 28, 2023 - News

San Francisco public school teachers plan strike vote

Illustration of a hand holding a protest sign in the shape of chalkboard with a graduation cap

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

San Francisco public school teachers will soon decide whether to authorize a strike amid ongoing concerns around pay, class sizes, staffing and more.

Why it matters: Labor negotiations have hit a standstill, and teachers walking off the job could potentially shut down schools.

Driving the news: Last week, more than 200 representatives of the United Educators of San Francisco, which represents about 6,500 public school teachers in the city, unanimously voted to authorize a strike.

  • Yes, but: The issue will now be brought to all members for a strike authorization vote on Oct. 11, UESF announced in an email to members on Friday.

Catch up quick: Negotiations between the San Francisco Unified School District and the teachers' union have been going on for about 10 months.

  • Educators are seeking a two-year contract with increased pay, smaller class sizes, priority school assignments to enable educators' children to attend school where they work, and more.

What they're saying: "We understand the impact of a strike and are doing everything possible to prevent that," UESF president Cassondra Curiel said in a press release. "Strikes are a last resort and something we are vigorously trying to avoid."

Of note: Janitors, nurses and other school staff members represented by SEIU 1021 are also considering a strike.

  • They plan to vote on whether to authorize a strike on Sept. 30 and Oct. 3.

The other side: SFUSD is "working diligently and in good faith" to negotiate contracts with UESF and SEIU 1021, Laura Dudnick, a spokesperson for the school district, told Axios via email.

  • She added that negotiating collective bargaining agreements "of this size at a regular pacing" typically takes at least a year.

What to watch: Whether a majority of UESF members vote next month to authorize a strike.

  • If they do, another vote would need to happen before union leadership officially calls for a strike.
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