SAN FRANCISCO - Educators in San Francisco are taking a vote on whether they will authorize a strike on Wednesday night.
After more than 10 months of negotiating, San Francisco teachers and district officials have yet to reach a deal on a new contract. Now educators are casting their vote on whether to authorize a strike if a deal can't be reached.
"We're expecting our 6,000 members to make their way to Balboa High School to make their vote known, and to really send a message to the bargaining team about how they'd like us to handle the district's proposal," said Cassondra Curiel, UESF president.
Teachers and administrators are negotiating over pay increases. According to previous reports, teachers were looking for a two-year deal with a $12,000 increase the district was offering $10,000.
The district wouldn't comment about the strike authorization vote, instead referring to an Oct. 3 statement that says SFUSD is offering a historic contract aimed at attracting and retaining top educators, even as the district faces a structural shortfall with declining enrollment.
Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne said in part "The fiscal health of the district is vital to our mission of serving students; our decisions are based on what will best support students' learning and well-being... I remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement with our labor partners."
Teachers are urging the district to cut back on administration. At this point, educators say they're still hopeful a deal will be struck.
"We're always very hopeful, our intention in bargaining and overall as educators is to always find a way to make a deal that works for everyone," said Curiel. "We're fighting for the schools our students deserve and that means we have to use every tool necessary."
A strike could shut down San Francisco schools, and Mayor London Breed says her office has stepped in aiming to help the two sides reach an agreement and avoid a strike.
"We…have inserted ourselves in the process and try and be a mediator to get to a better place to ensure that the teachers do not go on strike," said Breed.
The union is preparing to release the results of this strike authorization vote on Thursday at noon. If they vote to authorize a strike they will have to take a second vote before a strike would actually take place.
At this time, no date has been set for when a strike could come.