March 3 brought some interesting electoral results, including some goodies and surprises both locally, statewide and nationally.
The vote most important to the San Francisco Building Trades was Measure A, the bond that provides for $845 million dollars to rebuild San Francisco’s City College. Measure A needed 55% to pass and won by over 70%. Congratulations to all of us.
The entire labor movement supported this measure and we are very appreciative of the solidarity. The labor movement has been supporting City College for many years. We have been there to support bond measures for the teachers, maintenance and classified workers; we were there during the harrowing privatization attacks that threatened City College’s accreditation and possible closure. And we were all part of the fight to create a tuition free policy for San Francisco students.
On March 3rd, San Francisco voters continued to give their vote of confidence, again, to this institutional gem. The time has come to rebuild the aging and crumbling infrastructure.
We have also been negotiating with City College to secure a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for all this infrastructure work. We reached a final agreement a few weeks ago that I have sent to the affiliates and am collecting signatures. We also received the acceptance from the NABTU, (AFL-CIO’s North America’s Building Trades Unions) in Washington, D.C. This is also a great victory for our members and colleagues.
More details will come in later editions of Organized Labor, but we recently completed negotiations with the City and County to finalize the Citywide PLA. This process took an agonizing year even after our legislation was passed 11-0 by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the Mayor. Thank you to the persistence and patient team of negotiators that helped the building trades finalize this historic deal.
In addition, the council finalized a PLA agreement for the old Potrero Hill power plant development which will provide millions of dollars of work building housing, offices, retail space and a hotel.
We have also finalized an agreement with the City for the park attached to the India Basin site to begin the development of that new and expanded property on the Bay.
And, as you should remember we have a signed letter of intent with the India Basin developer of this large housing, office and retail project, Build, Inc., and will begin that bargaining soon.
A few other negotiations to complete, or are about to begin, are Park Merced, on the west side of town, 95 Hawthorne, and the reservoir housing project with Avalon Bay and Bridge housing. The latter will be signing a letter of intent as we speak.
Back on the political side the last few weeks have sorted out the Democratic Party’s Presidential nominees to two candidates: Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. The labor movement hasn’t officially endorsed one or the other, but we will be watching closely the next month or two to see which messages and values and plans will resonate with working men and women as we gear up for this November’s election. Stay tuned. And listen to your colleagues on the job and your union representatives who are working hard for your jobs, wages, benefits, and working condition.
Remember, being in a union gives you a voice at work. The companies don’t get to call all the shots. And being a union member means getting a higher wage because we don’t just take what we can. When we fight, we win.
Public health: With COVID-19, we are living in uncertain times. This doesn’t mean just health safety, but this crisis is also creating economic uncertainty as the state and cities and counties are closing businesses, travel and other economic engines. Please call your union representatives for the latest executive orders and rules but please do not take any health risks that could endanger you, your family and co-workers.
The Building Trades Council is monitoring all the directives regarding this crisis and will keep our affiliates informed as new developments begin.
Stay healthy, colleagues.