Teachers rally statewide for better wages and working conditions for Bay Area educators at Union Square in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Teachers from across the state gathered in San Francisco on Saturday to support Bay Area educators, many of whom say are underpaid, understaffed and undervalued.

Members of the California Federation of Teachers were taking time out of their annual conference to support educators in San Francisco.

“We are the union, the mighty, mighty union,” they chanted.

“This is about uniting for justice, uniting for education. We unite in this fight for students and members,” said Jeff Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers.

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Some SFUSD and City College employees say they survived by working during the pandemic, in some classrooms without heating, but pay remains the biggest issue for Leslie Hu.

“San Francisco is an expensive city to live in. We make low wages. Some para-educators only make $17.50 an hour, which is very close to the city’s minimum wage,” said Hu, who is an SFUSD social worker.

“We all want equal pay for equal work. We support our brothers and sisters in San Francisco. That’s why we’re here today,” said Joanne Haywood of Los Angeles.

“Some say it’s a staffing crisis, others say it’s a manufactured crisis resulting from underfunding, underpayment and a crisis of chronic disrespect,” he said. said Cassondra Curial, president of United Educators of San Francisco.

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San Francisco Unified School District officials said last September they approved a 6% pay increase for teachers and paraeducators for the current school year.

The union says it is currently negotiating a multi-year contract with the district.

“Our district needs to make our educators whole,” Hu said.

Across California, teachers are struggling to choose a different career path.

“We surveyed our members. Only 40% say they would tell their friends and family to become educators. It’s a sad story because they know how difficult it is,” Freitas said.

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