The year 2020 has been a strong one for Project Labor Agreements. We have secured deals with the San Francisco Giants at Mission Rock for the 11 waterfront buildings planned there; we won an agreement with City College for almost a billion dollars in infrastructure work; the Recreation and Park Land at India Basin was just signed; the huge Potrero Hill Power Plant development is being inked; we have letters of intent (LOI) for the private development of India Basin; the new neighborhood at 3333 California has signed to be union; we have commitments for the new hotel at the Golden Gate Warriors arena (the Mission Bay PLA covers) which we helped get approved at the Planning Commission; we have a commitment to a union-only high rise at 10 So. Van Ness with Crescent Heights Developers; and an LOI for 85 Hawthorne St.
And much of the current work that has restarted up during this pandemic was secured by the diligence of this Council over the last decade under earlier PLA’s and other commitments.
But the most difficult PLA during my short time as your Secretary-Treasurer is the one we are finally completing with the City and County of San Francisco. We have worked and secured an agreement for all City and County construction to be executed under the terms of our union collective bargaining agreements. As you have heard, this has been a slow grind. I have worked on this for my entire short time with you - first, helping to pass the initial legislation through the Board of Supervisors and then negotiating the final deal for more than a year.
The leaders of your unions were incredible!
Just this morning, I received the approval from the national building trades in DC and we have collected all the signatures of affiliates. Again, every San Francisco Building Trades affiliate contributed to this team process but I want to especially thank our diligent bargain team. President Larry Mazzola and I were co-chairs of this long negotiation and his partnership to keep our focus on the prize was invaluable. (And we still like each other….) and the other major representatives of our leadership team who worked so many hours were Vice President John Doherty of IBEW Local 6, Ramon Hernandez of Laborers Local 261, Vice President Vince Courtney, Tony Rodriguez of Sprinkler Fitters Local 483, Charlie Lavery of Operating Engineers Local 3, Danny Campbell of Sheet Metal Local 104, Bart Pantoja of Painters District Council 16, Jose Fuentes-Almanza from IBEW Local 6 and many others who sat in on these sessions over the year. I want to give a special shout out to Bill Blackwell and RJ Ferrari from UA 38 who helped us chase down your signatures last week. This was a total team effort. In San Francisco when we work together, it can be a beautiful thing. No photo ops or ceremonies yet because of shelter in place (SIP) but, in the long run, it’s about the work we do. Thank you all again.
Addendum to last months article “Extraordinary Times”
In our “day jobs” - and night jobs and swing shift jobs and weekend jobs… and some of us who are sometimes too stupid to know when to quit working – I, for the first time in my stint as your Secretary-Treasurer, had to think for a couple days about what I would print in my last article. As a construction worker and union representative, I wanted to have a few quick, rueful, accurate personal words about what this job has made me think about during these last few months of turmoil. I wanted to get out some honest thoughts but also be respectful to everyone. I didn’t want to be so personal as to betray any sense of privilege connected to sexism or racism or, frankly, any disrespect to anyone.
I wanted to continue a dialogue about how we are all coping, as union construction workers, with the COVID-19 crisis as well as the marching that we see every night on the streets in response to some recent horrible events that have included the murders of our African American brothers and sisters in America.
We seem to be at a crossroads. The economy is screwed up; racial anger has justifiably hit a new peak – (people who think the Chinese created this virus are as stupid as the people who refuse to wear masks. One business manager told me, “We’re not asking you to give blood; if you don’t wear a mask we don’t want you on our job sites, you selfish ignorant #%&@”).
We wear hardhats and orange vests because they keep us safe – not because we “like” them. Frankly I am proud when I see a construction worker in Carhartts, neon vest, mask and hardhat walking to or from the jobsite. That’s what I did, I’m thinking. Those are my brothers and sisters. Those folks are the ones who get things done!