Breakthrough on Civil Service Tests for SFUSD Members

After several years of pushing the San Francisco Unified School District to convert Local 21 members hired as exempt employees to permanent Civil Service workers, a breakthrough might be on the horizon.

In a meeting with the Local 21 bargaining team on July 11, Angie Sagastume, Executive Director of the school district’s Human Resources department, announced plans to post Civil Service exams for four IT classifications in August and administer the tests in October.

These tests will create the opportunity for about a dozen Local 21 members to upgrade their status from “exempt” to permanent Civil Service.

“Exempt,” or “at-will” employees, can be let go at any time for any reason, and they don’t accrue seniority when it comes to “bumping rights” in the event of layoffs. Permanent Civil Service employees can only be fired for “just cause” and have bumping rights within their classification in the school district and in city government.

But the news from Sagastume wasn’t all positive.

She was unable to say when tests for several other classifications the chapter has been pushing for would be ready and promised to have more information when she meets with Local 21 SFUSD members on July 26, 2017.

Nearly 50% of SFUSD’s classified employees are exempt.

“This amounts to an abuse of Civil Service system,” Local 21 SFUSD Chapter President Jan Gyn commented on the 50% figure. “We’ve had an agreement in place for the district to address this matter and it’s been one excuse after the other. In less than 30 days we’ll know if the HR director has the wherewithal to make a commitment and stick to it.”

In the meantime, Local 21 members are collecting petition signatures calling for the district to “immediately stop” its abuse of the Civil Service System and “convert these employees to permanent Civil Service workers.”

Local 21 represents roughly 100 employees at the San Francisco Unified School District. The current contract ended June 30 and members – who are paid on average 10% less than their counterparts in city government – are seeking cost-of-living increases plus significant equity adjustments.