Union reps reach agreement with SFUSD on underpayments to educators, but not without hit to morale

"It's a win in terms of people are going to get paid, but in terms of morale it was a huge loss."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After three nights of camping out in the San Francisco Unified School District headquarters, union reps say they have reached an agreement with the district that will get educators their unpaid checks.

The district tells the union that more than 98-percent of those checks have now been paid and the goal is to pay everyone by Friday.

After a three night sit-in, or sleep-in, at the San Francisco Unified School District Headquarters, the union representatives who had sleeping bags outside the superintendents office are going home. The union says the district has paid a majority of educators who previously had been severely underpaid.

VIDEO: SF teacher's union camps out in district headquarters demanding unpaid checks
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Educators camping out in the district offices of San Francisco Unified School District are demanding unpaid paychecks, saying they want their money.

"I think it was Tuesday morning we got the commitment from the district that all outstanding checks on a list that was almost a thousand, that they would be cut entirely by Friday," said United Educators of San Francisco President Cassondra Curiel.

The district says a new payroll system led to underpayments in 1,003 cases. Only 25 of those cases have yet to be resolved and union members are now making calls to double check that employees, including teachers and paraeducators, received their money.

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It's been such an issue, the superintendent even apologized earlier this week.

"There is no way that should happen. I hold myself accountable," said Dr. Vincent Matthews on Monday.
We first talked with special education instructor Rebecca Fedorko Monday, at which time she estimated she had been shorted $2,000. As of Thursday night, she has received money for tutoring programs she was involved in and expects COVID pay to come next week.

"It's a win in terms of people are going to get paid, but in terms of morale it was a huge loss on top of everything we're dealing with," said Fedorko.

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"Everything" being the many educators who have received pink slips across the district. As for this agreement, the union says any future payroll errors will be paid within 72 hours, COVID sick pay codes will work, and the district will cover late payments and give interest on non-payments.

"I was really excited to see the email cause I saw 15-percent interest paid to educators for each day that back pay was owed, which is huge," said Fedorko.

Those with the union say the goal here was to get their members the money they were owed. That appears to be accomplished, but now there is a hope going forward that the new payroll system will work properly.

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