By: Mahmoud Abunie

The UESF (United Educators of San Francisco), a union representing San Francisco teachers, has gone through the first round of votes for a possible strike. UESF and the SFUSD have been negotiating since the beginning of the year for a renewed contract and they are seemingly far apart. The central issue for the teachers union is a raise of 21% over the next three years. The SFUSD is countering the offer with 8% over three years, which it approved in June.

Is a strike imminent?

Both sides have agreed to a mediator and hope to resolve the issues as soon as possible. Teachers have complained that they cannot currently live in San Francisco with the wages they’re paid now. This fact poses a problem for teachers because they should be living in the city in which they teach for the purposes of parent/student support, commute and longevity.

As school districts across the country try and balance their budgets and ensure teacher pay is equitable, the SFUSD has the task of dealing with state mandates for quality of education, funding and closing the gap in racial disparities.

The chasm between the parties also opens up some underlying issues like the affordability crisis in San Francisco and teacher pay across the country which most would claim as dismal.