Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, December 18, 2009

Much Ado About 'Bumping'? Only One School Affected So Far by Controversial Union Rules, District Officials Say

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 7:00 AM

Despite -- or perhaps because of -- loud lamentations about bizarre union work rules that promised to displace secretaries at San Francisco schools, only one school site has so far been affected by the regulations, school-district officials say.

click to enlarge seiu_thumb_222x172_thumb_222x172_thumb_222x172_thumb_200x154.gif
Earlier this month we told the story of Sandra Rios, the beloved secretary at Longfellow Elementary School in the Outer Mission. Rios, like her counterparts at other San Francisco schools, believed she was on the verge of becoming an indirect casualty of massive layoffs in the ranks of the city's public employees. Those layoffs were aimed at clerical workers in the Department of Public Health. But because of Service Employees International Union seniority rules, the health department secretaries would be allowed to "bump" school secretaries -- who share the same job classification -- from their positions.

This has caused considerable ire at San Francisco Unified School District, where officials claim that health workers don't necessarily have the skills or desire to work with children in a school setting. In particular, the prospect of losing bilingual secretaries in schools with large numbers of families who don't speak English well is problematic. (Rios, a Spanish speaker, is one such secretary.) However, SFUSD spokeswoman Gentle Blythe told us this week that only one school thus far -- Thurgood Marshall High School in the Bayview -- has had a worker bumped.

The district's success in holding off the anticipated tide of bumps is in part the result of an important concession from the city's Department of Human Resources -- Schools were allowed to refuse secretarial replacements who didn't have the required language skills. Some 16 schools were spared bumping in this way.

Blythe noted that with more layoffs coming to the ranks of city workers, the effects of bumping could still be felt at San Francisco schools in the future: "This isn't over yet." But for now, as the holidays approach, it appears that many school secretaries will continue in their jobs, including Rios, who tells us she's happy to be keeping her job, though still concerned about the future. "I'm sure there will be [more rounds of bumps]," she says. "But hopefully it's not for a while."

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Peter Jamison


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • 24th Annual Autumn Moon Festival
    Crowds gathered September 6-7 for the 24th Annual Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown. Visitors enjoyed arts, crafts, cultural exhibits, food and a dog fashion show. Photographs by Dhoryan Rizo.
  • Felton: Touring the Redwoods
    Blue skies meet redwood canopies in the mountain town of Felton, located just north of Santa Cruz on Highway 9. Once a bustling logging community, the town is now a mix of mellow locals and serene wilderness. Visitors can enjoy the redwoods in nearby Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and splash in swimming holes in the San Lorenzo River. For a bite to eat stop by Rocky’s Cafe for fruit-laden pancakes, barbeque at the Cowboy Bar & Grill and poolside burgers at the Trout Farm Inn. Other stops worth checking out include Roaring Camp Railroads, the Mount Hermon zip line tour, and the educational Bigfoot Discovery Museum. For beer or cocktails a log cabin bar has you covered.