by Tim Paulson, Secretary-Treasurer
San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council
Many San Francisco building and construction trade affiliates have public sector members who work in the various departments of San Francisco. There are over 30,000 employees in the City that make San Francisco work.
We are about to begin City and County bargaining and President Larry Mazzola, Jr. and I have met with the City bargaining representatives and have scheduled multiple bargaining dates beginning in February. There is a Consolidated Crafts coalition that bargains together and I have been appointed bargaining chair. The plumbers, electricians, and laborers have their own collective bargaining agreements but still bargain with the other trades.
What usually happens is typical of all bargaining strategies, both in the public and private sectors: the employer will talk about how broke they are and union representatives will point out how much money is coming in and countering their baloney.
That process has already started in San Francisco.
On a related front, because of a strong economy, San Francisco is a beneficiary of unexpected resources from Sacramento. A committee of leaders from the labor council and the building trades council, which I was a part of, met, discussed and unanimously agreed on an equity strategy that affects the above noted bargaining. This was the press statement issued:
Statement from the San Francisco Labor Council and Building Trades Council Regarding the Use of ERAF Funds
In response to the announcement that the City of San Francisco will be refunded at least $415 million in property tax revenue from the State of California, the San Francisco Labor Council has released the following statement regarding how the City should invest the $181 million in discretionary funds that remain after mandatory charter and ordinance set asides.
“We call on city leaders to invest this revenue in the workers who are the backbone of our city government and public education system. Using these funds to expand and strengthen the essential public services that San Francisco residents rely upon, will help us address the long-term challenges of rising income inequality, homelessness, and housing,” said Rudy Gonzalez, Executive Director of the SF Labor Council.
“The contributions that the City and School District employees make to the children, residents and guests of the City are invaluable and should be recognized,” stated Larry Mazzola, Jr., President of the SF Building Trades Council.
“Like so many residents, San Francisco’s public-sector workers are falling behind the ever-rising cost of living and getting squeezed out by skyrocketing rents and housing. Supporting the ability of public employees to live and work in San Francisco will reduce growing income inequality in our community,” said Debra Grabelle, Executive Director of IFPTE Local 21.
With this in mind, the SF Labor Council and the SF Building Trades Council stand in unity that the City’s receipt of the ERAF funds should be invested in the following three priorities:
- Improve Public Education - $60 million to address the gap in the Proposition G funds which are currently being held up in court. The $60 million would help the severe teacher deficit and help keep vital educational, support, and maintenance staff housed in SF. “In order to preserve our schools and keep our teachers and staff, city leaders must do the right thing and make sure the Proposition G funds are funded immediately,” said Susan Solomon, President of United Educators of San Francisco.
- Strengthen City Services - $60 million to help recruit and retain the city workers who provide valuable public services to SF residents. Our city workers, who have been falling behind due to the high cost of living in the Bay Area, have made significant contributions to San Francisco’s prosperity. We know public workers have fallen behind those in the private sector and that the shortages of labor will only get worse if the City does not address the needs of its employees. “The only way to preserve the City’s vital services is to invest in our workforce so we can recruit and retain employees in the most expensive housing market in the United States,” said Joseph Bryant, San Francisco President of SEIU 1021.
- Address our Housing and Homelessness Crisis - $60 million to expand homeless services and strengthen public housing. San Francisco’s homeless and housing crisis is at an all-time high. In keeping with the will of the voters in November 2018, the City must allocate funds to help house the homeless and expand services. In addition, the City must ensure that the San Francisco Housing Authority has sufficient funds to provide safe public housing to low income residents.
We look forward to coming together with the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to make San Francisco a fair and more affordable city for all.
Final notes: Congratulations to Bart Pantoja, Glazier representative from Painters District Council 16 who was appointed by Mayor Breed to replace IBEW Local 6 legend, Kevin Hughes, on the City’s Bond Oversight Committee.
And, as we go to print, President Trump’s continued action to hold federal workers and our government hostage is still immoral, illogical, and a national embarrassment to democracy.