Magic can’t pay the rent…With the average price of a house over one million dollars, San Francisco is the most expensive real estate market in the nation.
“By the real estate industry’s own analysis, not a single teacher in San Francisco can afford to buy a home where she teaches,” said Ken Tray, the political director of the United Educators of San Francisco. “This a crisis of historical significance.”
Tray says veteran teachers, paras, and classified facing eviction leave and new employees often live like college students with multiple roommates. He and other San Francisco educators have joined a coalition negotiating with the mayor for affordable housing and against evictions.
And they’ve had some successes, including a $310 million housing bond to assist teachers making a down payment, and getting 40 percent of the 1,500 housing units next to the Giants ballpark marked for affordable housing.
“We are making the case in the media and in streets that when educators can’t afford to live here, we all lose,” Tray said. “The pressure our union put on City Hall that led to the housing bond and the units in the Giants development. It’s not enough, but we have momentum.”
Take a load off… In an agreement between the Coast Federation of Educators and the Coast Community College District, more than $1 million will be paid to 173 full-time faculty who taught non-lecture lab assignments during a two-year period starting in 2013, when the district unilaterally lowered compensation for lab faculty at its three colleges.
Until now, negotiations to eliminate “load factoring” — the antiquated compensation model in which lab instructors work more hours to earn the same pay as lecture faculty — had been unsuccessful. The settlement will begin to equalize pay for lab faculty.
Teaching isn’t preaching…The San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers ratified a new contract between the faculty union and the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
The close vote, 90-80, reflected divisions among faculty and the community after the Archdiocese proposed new language that declared teachers to be “ministers.” That language would have placed teachers outside the protections of the National Labor Relations Act.
The agreement includes a 7.5 percent salary increase over three years and maintenance of healthcare. New language safeguards employee rights and makes clear that questions regarding teacher conduct on and off the job are subject to the collective bargaining grievance procedure and can’t be decided by administrative fiat.
Et voilá, un contract…Because teachers at Ecole Bilingue cultivated parent support for their first contract by hosting house meetings and having one-on-one conversations, parents delivered a petition to the board of trustees in support of the teachers.
The Berkeley teachers delivered a similar petition, saying they believed their proposals — collaborative decision-making, binding arbitration, and just cause — would improve the quality of education at the school.
Teachers also united to replace three anti-union trustees with new pro-union trustees on the board and form the Bay Area French-American Federation of Teachers combining the might of educators at three schools. Meanwhile, educators at Lycée Français in San Francisco ratified their first contract two long years in the making, providing a 5 percent salary boost and more shared governance.
Working conditions Corps problem…Instructors and support staff from the Treasure Island Job Corps rallied on September 10 to protest working conditions that have led to high staff turnover and declining student retention rates.
“Treasure Island is one of the top-ranked Job Corps centers in the country thanks to the work of our members,” said Emily Rapaport, who works in the culinary program as a career transition specialist and is president of the Treasure Island Job Corps Workers’ Union. “But as the economy improves, our members are leaving for better jobs because of the unfair working conditions here.”
Experienced, trained staff, she said, are much better at helping students complete their education and find jobs.