Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

San Francisco teachers union calls
for strike authorization vote

By Adam Martin, Bay City News Service

March 16, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO(BCN) - United Educators of San Francisco, the union representing teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District, today announced it will hold a strike authorization vote by the end of the month.

President Dennis Kelly said today that an assembly of the union had voted unanimously Wednesday to go ahead with the strike vote.

Teachers in the district have been working without a contract since June, according to the union. "The district has taken every opportunity to prolong these negotiations,'' Kelly said.

The union called an impasse in negotiations Feb. 2, after 29 meetings with the district over 366 days, it reported today. The union has met with district officials twice under state mediation, which began Feb. 24.

Further mediated sessions are scheduled for March 21, April 4 and April 10.

"My reaction as the chief negotiator is that we're disappointed,'' said Tom Ruiz, the district's head of labor relations. "It's a puzzle to us why they would call for a strike vote while we're still in mediation.''

The union and the district have been unable to come to an agreement on the amount and distribution of a teacher salary increase. The union wants a 10 percent raise, the bulk of which would be implemented early

in the 18-month contract period. It also wants a 3 percent retroactive raise for the last year. Kelly said retroactivity is important because teachers have not received a raise since 2002.

The district has offered a 7.5 percent raise, but Kelly said today that the bulk of that money would not reach teachers until the 2006-2007 school year. Ruiz said today that the district has offered a 2 percent raise retroactive to January.

Ruiz said the district would like the union's membership to vote on whether to accept the district's offer before voting on whether to authorize a strike. "We think 7.5 percent is a fair offer, given the financial constraints the district finds itself in,'' he said.

In addition to a pay raise, the union is calling for capital improvements to be made to school facilities. It also calls for equity for paraprofessionals, or teachers' aides, which it represents.

During state-mediated negotiations, the union and the district agreed to explore the use of a parcel tax to fund pay raises and benefits.

That solution, if it happens, would go into effect in 2008, and would not benefit the current round of contract negotiations, Kelly said today.

"The ball is in the district's court,'' Kelly said. "If Superintendent (Gwen) Chan wants to solve this, she should step up and do so. If the board of education wants to solve it, they should step up and do so.''

Kelly said the date of the strike vote has not yet been set, but that it will probably take place during the last week of March. The union requires a "supermajority'' authorization, meaning that 15 percent of the members must vote as a quorum, and two thirds must approve the strike.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa