SEIU 1021

SFUSD classified staff rally at school board, demand urgent action to address ongoing payroll debacle and staffing crisis
Over 150 SEIU 1021 SFUSD members turned out to last Tuesday's school board meeting demanding urgent action


There is a term to describe when an employer does not pay its employees what it owes them for work performed: wage theft. For over a year now, since rolling out its boondoggle of a new payroll system, San Francisco Unified School District has been committing wage theft. Despite claims from its new superintendent that a new “command center” would make sure shortchanged employees are made whole, that has not materialized, as help tickets continue to go unanswered, calls go unreturned, and desperate employees who go in person are turned away.

The situation, on top of substandard pay that is a full 16% lower than wages for the same kinds of work for the City and County of San Francisco, has created huge staffing shortages – making the workload even more unsustainable for those who remain.

They have had enough. Tuesday, January 24, over 150 SFUSD classified staff rallied ahead of the school board meeting, then headed in to share their experiences with the board.

“SFUSD’s classified staff go above and beyond every single day. Our custodians work their fingers to the bone trying to keep schools clean for our students, but there aren’t enough of them to do the job because they are so underpaid. Our nutrition service workers make sure our students get hot meals every day, but the district doesn’t give them enough hours to feed their own families. Our clerical staff are pulling double duty trying to help employees cheated by the EMPowerSF payroll system while taking care of their regular work as well, and meanwhile they’re also having the same problems with their paychecks as other staff and teachers. They’re doing this for 16% less than City and County workers doing similar work, and then on top of that, they’re not even getting paid what they’re owed,” said SEIU Local 1021 SFUSD Chapter President Rafael Picazo, who was worked for the district since 1984.

“There is no class without classified staff, and at this rate, this district is going to lose the staff it has left. SFUSD staff deserve better. Our students deserve better. It’s time for this school board and administration to make things right. We are coming out in force to tell them: Do right by your students and your employees. Pay us correctly and pay us fairly so we can keep doing what it takes to keep our students fed and our schools running, clean, and safe.”

Watch Rafael speak to the ongoing problems ahead of the rally on KTVU here.