Who among us would not want to get a pay increase? Who among us would go as far as demanding a 21% pay increase over the next three years and expect to get it?
The United Educators of San Francisco is doing just that and the reason for their demand is ludicrous at best. Why the high demand? Dennis Kelly, UESF President told the media:
“Our wage proposal will give teachers and (teacher aides and office workers) a fighting chance to stay in the city they love.”
The UESF is trying to justify that reasoning by saying that the percentage of teachers living in the city has dropped from 76% a few years ago to 72% currently. Teachers need the huge raise to pay for the high cost of living in the city.
There are cities all over the country that have thousands of workers that commute to and from the city. One of the reasons is the higher cost of living in the city, but that’s not the only reason. Crime has a lot to do with it along with having a house with a yard for their kids. Generally, the suburbs and rural communities provide a more wholesome living environment.
According to the San Francisco Unified School District, the average starting salary plus benefits for a teacher is $58,291 a year. I don’t know what percentage of that is benefits, but guessing that $10,000 might be a fair figure, that leaves a salary of $48,000 a year to start teaching. There are thousands of teachers all over the nation that would love to be making $48,000 a year after ten years of teaching. Demanding a 21% pay increase over three years would amount to $10,000 for starting teachers and a whole lot more for tenured teachers.
I went to the San Francisco Unified School District website and counted 167 schools, ranging from pre-K to high school, including charter schools. Since the union demand includes office workers and teachers’ aides, we need to include the Administration Office as well. I know this number is very low, but just for argument purposes; there are 20 teachers’ aides and office workers at each of the 168 locations. That means the union demand of a 21% increase over three years would cost the district a minimum of $33.6 million. What school district in America could afford that kind of increase?
California’s fourth and eighth grade public school students test among the lowest in the nation. In San Francisco, the unified school district did not meet the acceptable standards for the Adequate Yearly Progress academic testing. If the district has to spend a lot more on teachers’ salaries, that means they have a lot less money to spend on academics, sports and all other extracurricular activities. High school athletes will have a harder time getting college scholarships because there may not be any high school athletic programs for them to participate in.
It appears that contract negotiations for the San Francisco Unified School District and the United Educators of San Francisco union are going to be ugly at best.
You may be tired of hearing me say it, but I hate unions and this is one of the many reasons. Union demands have put businesses out of business, sent many others overseas and made the cost of American products higher for consumers than foreign made products. I still wonder how much of the automotive industry bailout was necessitated by union demands.