Secretary-Treasurer's Report

Rudy Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer
Rudy Gonzalez | Secretary-Treasurer

Rudy carried his first Union card at the age of 18 as a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. After serving as a shop steward, he volunteered as a member organizer and learned to campaign in the South, where he saw firsthand the struggle that workers face when they attempt to unionize under hostile conditions.

Informed by his Catholic upbringing's social justice doctrine and motivated by a sense of stewardship instilled by his father’s lifelong career as a firefighter, he found purpose in building power for workers.

In 2008, he was hired as a full-time Business Representative and Organizer for Teamsters 856. He negotiated private and public sector contracts in Northern California, rising to the rank of Director, and was elected twice as Vice President. During his time at 856, he led organizing campaigns that nearly doubled the size and strength of the local union, which now boasts 17,000 members.

In May of 2018, Rudy was selected by his peers on the SFLC Executive Committee to assist the Council as Interim Executive Director. In August of 2018, Rudy was nominated and elected unanimously by the Council delegates to a two-year term, becoming the first person of color and youngest person elected in the 125-year history of the SFLC.

At the Labor Council, Rudy lead the staff team to assist affiliated unions with political mobilization, contract campaigns, and strategic organizing. Under his leadership, the Council shored up its finances, hired the first-ever Campaign Director, and revamped the political and affiliate support apparatus. Rudy is most proud of the recently-launched Labor in the Schools program, which will bring labor curriculum and union awareness to a new generation of San Franciscans.

He enjoys spending his off time with his family in Oakland, where he resides with his wife, Sarah, and their three children, Zoe (12), Jules (10), Isaac (3), and their English bulldog, Oliver.

As 2021 draws to a close, a disturbing number of members and apprentices remain out of work and in dire financial straits. The persistently high rate of unemployment makes it clear that the impact of COVID-19 is still very much with us, and the toll that this pandemic has taken on our industry across the crafts continues to cut us all deeply.

On Monday, November 15, President Joe Biden put his signature on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, making it law.

Returning to Normal at SFUSD

As our local schools navigate the pandemic, inequities reveal themselves. Disparities in funding are becoming more obvious, as are the challenges of truly addressing today’s educational needs — both in terms of resourcing and modernizing the institutions in which our children spend their days and meeting the demand for vocational education with a pipeline to apprenticeship.

The 20-year commemoration of the 9/11 attacks has come and gone in the national news cycle. But for so many survivors of that tragic day in American history — and their family members and friends, as well as the friends and family of the 2,996 people who died during the attacks — 9/11 is much more than an occasion to relive through news packages and op-ed columns once yearly.

In the time I’ve spent working in the labor movement, I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a few skills in fighting for the kinds of mandates that unions and councils have been winning (and sometimes losing) for centuries.

Robbie Hunter: We Were Lucky to Have Him

The head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, Brother Robbie Hunter, has announced his retirement. Since 2012, Robbie has been our tip of the spear in Sacramento, fighting on behalf of 180 local unions that represent more than 450,000 skilled workers, including 68,000 apprentices.

Continuing Success With CityBuild

This month, cycle 34 of CityBuild Academy graduated, with instructors, friends, and family participating on Zoom. SF Building Trades President Larry Mazzola Jr. and I attended and offered closing remarks.

Green Jobs Need Labor Standards

As the public conversation about climate justice grows louder and more urgent, we have seen little coverage on the matter of worker protections and labor standards. The fact is that these so-called great jobs are hard to find because they are mostly non-union. Take, for example, wind and solar industry projects: They are 77% and 82% non-union, respectively.

The Job Safety Law Turns 51

Nearly 51 years ago, the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed. This law, which gave the federal government the authority to set and enforce health and safety standards for most U.S. workers, was signed under a Republican president, and was opposed by Labor.

SEIU Janitors Fight for Seniority

By now, you’ve learned of the SF Labor Council granting strike sanction to the San Francisco janitors who are members of SEIU 87. Their President, Olga Miranda, is not one to make empty threats, and as long as I’ve known her, she doesn’t flinch when the bosses of her industry throw a punch.

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