Kaiser

Building the Trades

Michael Theriault, Executive Secretary-Treasurer

Michael Theriault, Executive Secretary-Treasurer

Mike has been a member of the Ironworkers Union since 1985. He was appointed as Business Representative with his Local in 2001 to fill out the unexpired term of retiring Randy Oyler. He was elected in his own right to a second term in 2003. Mike has been an active participant in the Business Agents meetings for the last several years. He has worked with Stan Warren and Larry Mazzola in support of union issues at San Francisco City Hall. He has spent long evenings speaking in support of union projects at the City Planning Commission, The Board of Supervisors, The San Francisco Unified School District and the San Francisco City College Board to name a few.

Almost any large private construction project seeking City approval meets opposition. Often the stated reasons of opponents are straightforward, like increased traffic, or loss of hotel worker jobs.

Our meeting minutes published monthly in this newspaper have recently reported on negotiation of several project labor agreements, or PLAs.

This month’s Organized Labor reports (Page 5) on our opposition to a 276-unit residential development at 2000 Bryant Street. Other news outlets, the San Francisco Chronicle and Business Times among them, have reported this opposition as a surprise.

The San Francisco Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors have long told us in hearings on project approvals and land use that we cannot bring labor issues into the discussion.

In about 1991 I turned to the ironworker beside me as we reinforced a brick parapet on Valencia Street, and I said, “Look, Valencia is getting trendy.”

His expression questioned my sanity.

I serve now not just as Secretary-Treasurer of the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, but as President of Iron Workers Local 377. The local’s jurisdiction extends from Big Sur to the Oregon line through coastal and neighboring counties, and includes Silicon Valley.

“Progressive” rhetoric often blames new development for the displacement of the working class and poor, and especially of “communities of color.”

The reality of displacement is certainly more complex than the opponents of new construction have admitted. Their claims in support of their rhetoric raise many questions.

For many transplants– and so maybe most residents – the City should look pretty much as they found it, because that is how they came to love it.

They fear that the City’s character, which in some neighborhoods arises primarily from single-family homes, and in others from the limits that wood-frame construction and traditional lot sizes place on multi-family homes, is about to disappear.

A few years back, when the developer Hines proposed replacing a small early-Twentieth-Century building on the Embarcadero with a midrise office building, and then again a few months later, when changes to the Planning code concerning historic preservation were debated, an architectural historian and ardent preservationist asked me, “If someone proposed changing the Golden Gate Bridge, would you support that?”

We went a long while without seeing the Associated Builders and Contractors, or ABC, show itself in San Francisco politics. Its last appearance in the scaly flesh had been in debates over our first project labor agreement – PLA – with the San Francisco Unified School District.

Organized Labor

JOIN OUR ENEWS

Sign Up Now

Labor 411

 

Labor 411

 

IBEW Builds San Francisco Transit Center


XXX

Please Support the Sponsors that Support the Labor Movement...

XXX
Asbestos Legal Center
united healthcare
OE Federal
XXX

Go to top
Organized Labor

Stay current on all Bay Area Building Trades news by
signing up for Organized Labor’s monthly E-news letter!

Sign Up Now