SFUSD classified staff protest short-staffing & low wages at school board in rally with educators
Severe short-staffing has SFUSD classified workers like custodians, nutrition service workers, and clerical staff carrying unsustainable workloads. Low wages, poor working conditions, and ongoing payroll problems underlie the crisis.
Over a hundred San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) classified employees, fed up with deteriorating working conditions for paychecks that have not kept pace with inflation, braved frigid winds to march and rally with hundreds of educators ahead of the school board meeting last Tuesday, Feb. 21.
They demanded the school board push the administration to take urgent action to address the staffing crisis that has many of them doing the jobs of multiple people for paychecks that are 16% lower than they would make for doing similar work for the City and County of San Francisco.
In addition to untenable workloads and paychecks that have not kept up with 9% inflation in the most expensive city in the country, many classified staff are still experiencing problems due to the district’s boondoggle of a new payroll system, which it has spent over a year and tens of millions of dollars to fix with no success.
“I’m a 38-year employee of SFUSD. The last 5 years in this district has been the worst 5 years I’ve seen in the close to 40 years I’ve been here,” said SEIU 1021 SFUSD Chapter President Rafael Picazo at the rally. ”They’re hiring upper management at over $200k per person, wasting money — up to $30 million — on the payroll system, which could have given every person out here today a decent raise and supplied our classrooms. Our members cannot feed their kids because they’re not getting paid properly. Because the district doesn’t realize $100 to an SEIU member could be what puts gas in my car or feeds my children.
“They need to do away with [the EMpower payroll system] and bring back the payroll system that pays everybody properly. I’m tired of the lies. I hear the superintendent say at every board meeting they have a command center fixing the problems. But as they’re fixing them and a thousand new ones are coming in.
“And what about our staffing levels? Our custodial staff is real short, our nutrition services are short, our clerks in our schools are short. Everyone’s short from teachers to the HR department. They need to fully fund this school district, with pay equal to the city side. Our custodians, clerks, and nutrition service workers are 16% behind their counterparts on the city side. That’s not fair. We need pay equity. They stood up during the pandemic. They were the first ones coming to work every day. The district is treating SEIU members and the teachers like zeroes. We’re asking for pay equity, fully-funded schools, safe workplaces, and to fully staff our district.”