SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Teachers from across the state rallied in San Francisco Saturday, in support of Bay Area educators, many who say they are underpaid, understaffed and under-appreciated.
Members of the California Federation of Teachers were taking time from their annual conference to support educators in San Francisco.
"We are the union, the mighty, mighty union," they chanted.
"This is about being united for justice, united for education. We're coming together for that fight for students and members," said Jeff Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers.
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Some SFUSD and City College employees say they survived working during the pandemic, inside some classrooms which were without heat but pay remains the biggest issue for Leslie Hu.
"San Francisco is an expensive city to live in. We make low wages. Some paraeducators only make $17.50 an hour, which is very close to city minimum wage," said Hu, who is a SFUSD social worker.
"We're all about equal pay for equal work. We support our brothers and sisters in San Francisco. That's why we're here today," said Joanne Haywood from Los Angeles.
"Some say it's a staffing crisis, others say it's a manufactured crisis stemming from underfunding, underpayment and a crisis of chronic disrespect," said Cassondra Curial, United Educators of San Francisco president.
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San Francisco Unified School District officials say than in last September they approved a 6% pay raise for teachers and paraeducators for the current school year.
The union says it's now negotiating a multi-year contract with the district.
"Our district needs to make our educators whole," Hu said.
Across California, teachers are struggling with some choosing a different career path.
"We polled our members. Only 40% say they would tell friends and family to become educators. That's a sad story because they know how difficult it is," Freitas said.
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