Kaiser

Tim Paulson, headshot

The debate still rages between the Health and Safety of American workers caused by the health care crisis versus the Economic Health of workers and their families. The economic part of this debate has two basic parts: Keeping the middle-class part of the economy; and exposing the inequities as they are tragically highlighted during this crisis. Issues like paying mortgages and rents, affording health care coverage when employers stop providing benefits after laying off or furloughing workers ...

The Republicans still want to eliminate social security benefits and get rid of the post office by letting their cronies take over this necessary work, which our union brothers and sisters perform 24/7. “Paternalistic bullshit” I called it in my last article. The greed to give the bosses all of our tax money without guaranteeing it being used for any worker safety net is unconscionable.

We were quite pleased a few days ago when our elected officials and health departments finally listened to the building trades councils and removed the barriers to construction work. These initial barriers were the most severe in the United States and closed down major commercial construction projects no matter how safe they were.

I’ve communicated with my counterparts in other building trades councils throughout the country during this crisis, and all of them have different political environments to navigate. They were amazed at our restrictions but agree that San Francisco’s new directives are a major win for bay area construction workers. Our affiliate unions are now dispatching members back to work. And I salute the local team of building trades councils we built in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Monterey, Contra Costa and Sonoma counties to stick together and speak to our city and county governments and health departments to achieve this win.

We expect these reopened jobs to stay safe and employ the added regulations of COVID-19 safety requirements. Our members are trained to get the job done right. And we are also trained to keep jobs safe for our contractors as long as they establish safe protocols.

Again we applaud our national, state and local electeds (especially speaker Nancy Pelosi) for legislatively (and from executive offices) fighting to keep healthcare benefits, mortgage and rent forgiveness, sick days, and unemployment insurance due to this COVID-19 related job loss. We appreciate their diligence to maintain safety regulations, keeping us safe by the shelter in place (SIP) directives (which works!) and other health and science driven policies that guide our goal to stop this crisis.

And, again, we must expose those that don’t care about working men and women and their economic and physical health. Trying to open business is important - but not if it puts me and my family in danger.

The health of Main Street is more important than the profits of Wall Street. And the idiots who think they are being oppressed because they can’t get a haircut or eat their eggs in public during this crisis DO NOT speak for the majority of us who listen to the health professionals and are willing to cooperate with our coworkers and friends to contain this vicious virus.

Keep safe and keep diligent.

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