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.
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.
The Building Trades know well that the tech industry, so maligned by many San Franciscans, has been good for our work. The protests against Twitter and the tax break that brought it to mid-Market have been held outside a building that put many of us back to work in its reinforcement and renovation. The Nema apartment building across Tenth Street from Twitter employed hundreds of us because Twitter was there to provide it tenants. Overall, many thousands of Building Trades workers have fed their families from the grand harvest the tech industry has provided.