Black History Month
While we’re most likely to see images of celebrities and elected officials flashing on the screen as Black History Month progresses, few — if any — will honor the legacy of trailblazing Black labor leaders of America.
So, it is in the spirit of labor that we remember A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), who organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. This was the first African American-led union.
Randolph honed tactics that would serve both the labor and civil rights movements. He believed in collective power and nonviolent direct action. This translated into voter registration drives and mobilization to vote in blocs. Randolph also organized workers to fight racism in the workplace and improve their lot through their union.
In 2022, we find ourselves again in need of this kind of organizing. At the end of last year, 19 states passed 33 laws making it harder for people to vote, and, in nearly all instances, Black workers were most impacted.
This Black History Month, take some time to learn more about who A. Philip Randolph was, how he led, and why the demands to provide economic freedom still matter today. Read more about Randolph’s legacy on page 3 of this newspaper, and scan the QR code below, at left, to learn more about the man and his accomplishments.
Democrats Deliver on Infrastructure
Just two weeks ago, we celebrated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Jackie Spear, and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo as work continues on Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport. The infrastructure bill will infuse around $250 million dollars directly into SFO, with billions more doled out in grants to airports that apply.
We heard from Jamie Henderson, a journeywoman glazier with Local 718 who’s eager to get back to work after feeling the impacts of the slowdown. She’s focused on providing a better future for her daughter, so the investment in SFO puts much-needed work on the horizon.
Sister Henderson was flanked by her union representative, SF Building Trades Delegate and Trustee and newly minted Secretary-Treasurer of the San Mateo Building Trades Council Bart Pantoja. Let’s all congratulate Brother Pantoja on his new post and give him our support — especially when it comes to SFO.
Offices Secured at 825 Van Ness Avenue
I had the pleasure of working with the trustees last month on a plan to liquidate our market investments and secure a real property asset for our council. We are proud to again lay down roots in the City we’ve built and to have increased space to accommodate field reps and take meetings near Civic Center.
It should be noted that the SF Building Trades has not owned real property since a 1961 fire destroyed our building, which was located on 14th and Guerrero streets and had been built in 1907. Before that, we owned property at 927 Mission Street (built 1905).
In addition to the financial stewardship associated with investing council assets, this purchase will continue our legacy of being rooted in the City by the Bay. Stay tuned for a change-of-address notice!
Organized Labor Publishing Company Reboot
This month, affiliated unions were notified that we are ending our contract with our third-party publisher, Senders Communications Inc., in April. We are conducting an amicable and thorough transition, and the council will assume full responsibility for publishing this newspaper beginning with the May edition.
As we navigate this important and historic transition, we will be reactivating the Organized Labor Publishing Company, originally founded by this council in 1900. We’ve been stewards of this publication for over 122 years, and, with your continued support, we will continue to be for many years to come.
Biden-Harris Administration Delivers Another Win
On the heels of the massive infrastructure bill victory comes a new executive order that directly impacts our work: Federal contracts over $35 million will now require a project labor agreement. With a stroke of his pen, President Joe Biden just covered $262 billion in federal construction work.
We know what it means to get work done right the first time, on-time, and on-budget. We know that having a union wage, good benefits, and a secure retirement can turn a job into a career. We know the well-beaten path of economic freedom goes through the hiring hall.
And now, we have a White House that knows the middle class has a union label and isn’t afraid to say it.