Just how far apart the union representing city teachers and the San Francisco Unified School District are in contract negotiations has become apparent in recent weeks.
The United Educators of San Francisco, representing more than 4,000 teachers, voted last week to table a possible strike vote until August despite frustration that talks with the district haven't been productive. In April, the union had proposed a 21 percent pay raise over the next three years for city teachers.
On May 13, the district countered with a proposed salary boost of 8 percent over three years for teachers, which would amount to 2 percent in 2014-2015, 3 percent in 2015-2016 and 3 percent in 2016-2017.
San Francisco public-school teachers are planning a second rally today in as many months before the Board of Education meeting. Teachers are seeking their first pay raise in five years.
The union says the 21 percent raise would help to allow teachers to continue living in The City despite drastic cost-of-living increases. Hundreds of teachers made their case at a rally April 22.
Teachers had considered holding a strike vote this month, but last Wednesday decided to wait until a general membership meeting Aug. 14 to revisit the issue.
"There's nothing to strike at the end of the year," said UESF President Dennis Kelly, who has seen more strike votes than actual strikes since he began teaching in The City in 1969. "It's more appropriate that a strike vote take place at the beginning of the year."
A strike vote doesn't necessarily mean that a strike will happen, UESF spokesman Matthew Hardy emphasized. In fact, there would have to be two strike votes comprising a quorum of 15 percent of the UESF membership with two-thirds voting in favor before a strike could be scheduled.
"Our goal is not to go out on strike," Hardy said. "Our goal is to settle this in the coming weeks."
Contract negotiations are scheduled through June, and district officials have said multiple times they intend to give raises to teachers.
"The board and superintendent have let teachers know that they are committed to providing salary increases this year and in the future as long as the revenues from the state continue to grow incrementally," district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.
Additionally, the union had suggested a 50 cent increase to paraprofessional longevity pay after 10 years.
The district countered with a 40 cent increase after 15 years -- 10 cents more than what's already in place, which Hardy called "a slap in the face."
Today's rally will begin with a bargaining update at 4:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Civic Center Secondary High School at 727 Golden Gate Ave., followed by a march to the district offices at 555 Franklin St. prior to the Board of Education meeting.
The union and district are also slated to return to the bargaining table today. Contract negotiations are scheduled through June.