San Francisco educators' sleep-in protest over non-payment ends following agreement

A sleep-in protest among San Francisco educators, who occupied the school district's headquarters for three nights, came to an end on Thursday. Union officials say an agreement has been reached regarding the nonpayment of employees. 

The agreement, announced this afternoon, resolves outstanding payroll issues. Educators, who were not appropriately paid, will receive checks by Friday, March 18. Union representatives with United Educators of San Francisco said educators had gone unpaid for months. Under the agreement with the district, new protocol is in place should future payroll issues arise. 

The district said the nonpayment was due to a technical glitch with a new payroll system they had implemented. 

The agreement between the union and San Francisco Unified School District also secures payment within three business days if the technical issues arise in March or beyond. If not, the district will have to pay 15% interest for each day owed. 

The agreement resolves a COVID code in the payroll system that will be used to pay educators for sick days they miss for COVID reasons. In addition, all insurance coverage will be restored retroactively.

Penalties and late fees on credit cards, mortgages or bank overdrafts that occurred because of nonpayment will be reimbursed, the union said. The district said this will be retroactive to Feb. 1, 2022.

"We are excited to announce today that our efforts have paid off. And while we would have preferred to sleep in our own beds the last few nights, we can rest easy tonight at home knowing that we have an agreement that fixes past payroll errors and provides a clear timeline for any future mistakes," said UESF President Cassondra Curiel.

The school district in a statement said the board of education will vote on the agreement or memorandum of understanding at a regularly scheduled meeting March 22. 

MORE: SFUSD educators hold 'sleep-in' inside school district offices to demand payment

"We remain committed to ensuring every staff member receives all of the pay they are owed," Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. "I want to again extend my deepest apologies to every employee who has been impacted in any way as a result of our transition to a new payroll system."

The new payroll system was implemented on Jan. 3, 2022. The district said there were 1,003 reports of underpayment between January 3 and March 15, per their investigation. Of those reports, only 25 remain unresolved. 

To relish in their success, educators will celebrate at a parking-lot rally Friday at the district's offices at 555 Franklin Street at 5 p.m.