by Tim Paulson, Secretary-Treasurer
San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council
The November election is only days away, and working men and woman have a lot at stake. Many Congressional leaders and our so-called President are trying valiantly to destroy unions and opportunities for good jobs and benefits. The perfect example of these attacks is why we have to vote No on Proposition 6. Proposition 6 mandates that we abandon efforts to fix highways and bridges. Prop 6 (vote NO) is an attack on public safety by eliminating efforts to fix crumbling highways and bridges. Firefighters and those of us who build bridges and highways are unanimously and adamantly opposed to Prop 6 for those very public safety reasons. We need more infrastructure investment, not less. That is the way we make America great again.
The San Francisco Bay Area is lucky that we have great leaders in DC, but many of us are volunteering to get out the vote (GOTV) in the Central Valley and Orange County where incumbent congressmen and congresswomen in those districts vote against workers. We have to kick those folks out. If your union has phone banks to help outside the Bay Area, please sign up. We would love on November 6th to voice these three words: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
Serious note: The heart of American and union democracy is the right to vote. Many of us take it for granted and forget to vote. Today I am urging you and your family to exercise your rights. Please vote on November 6 or fill out your absentee mail ballot today. And please look through this paper for workers positions on candidates and issues. For the first time in a few years the Building Trades Council and the Labor Council have consensus on endorsements for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Let’s put this over the top.
On other fronts, we’ve had a few victories for working men and woman in the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council. India Basin is a huge hunk of land on San Francisco’s eastern waterfront between the new Chase Arena and Bayview. Build, Inc. has the development rights to build a whole new neighborhood in this remarkable space. There will be at least 1785 new housing units built to anchor these acres with additional mixed-use retail space as well as a wonderful new park. After serious negotiations, Build, Inc. signed a letter of intent with the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council to enter into a Project Labor Agreement for union wages and conditions. Though the project will probably not commence immediately as permits, financing and other conditions work themselves out, Build,Inc. and the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council will become partners and begin to negotiate terms for all trades to ensure the wages and benefits of all our collective bargaining agreements.
On another front, the Building Trades Council and the Labor Council have been pushing for increasing the Living Wage ordinance. As you all know, San Francisco became the first City to establish a $15 minimum wage. A major victory. But that victory meant that the Living Wage would lag behind. Last week the Board of Supervisors finally passed legislation to increase the Living Wage to $17 an hour for all workers who work for companies that have contracts with the City. This mostly affects food service, security workers, parking attendants and other workers at San Francisco International Airport. In addition, the San Francisco labor movement is fighting to make this legislation extend to non-profit and home care workers.
Ending: As your new secretary-treasurer of the Building Trades Council and working with my successor, Rudy Gonzalez at the labor council, I think, with your support, we will have the ability to keep San Francisco and the Bay Area a beacon for labor standards and solidarity. I am hopeful.