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Over the past 50 years, San Francisco construction unions have been improving how they recruit, train, and listen to women. As a result, more women are showing an interest in the trades, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In early January, union representatives at Local 261 began getting reports of workers at a San Francisco Department of Public Works maintenance yard becoming sick with COVID-19. The Cesar Chavez Street Maintenance Yard, which runs 24/7 and sees some 500 employees shuffle in and out, was experiencing an outbreak.

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From the very beginning of the Gold Rush, workers in San Francisco have had to fight for better wages and working conditions. The significant contributions of the city’s earliest workers would go a long way in establishing San Francisco as a place “where unionism holds undisputed sway.” The building trades were among the first unions to organize, and the first recorded strike was by carpenters in 1849.

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Chris Snyder, Government Relations Director for Operating Engineers Local 3, was appointed to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s Board of Directors effective January 1.

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Great news for San Francisco’s building and construction trades workers: the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, together with UC San Francisco and Herrero Boldt Webcor (HBW), announced an historic agreement on a $3 billion Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that will promote solid collaboration and ten years of good jobs for our members on UCSF’s Helen Diller Medical Center project at Parnassus Heights.

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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.

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In December, SFBCTC leaders convened with industry partners and City staff from the Department of Public Health and Department of Emergency Management at a town hall to discuss the surging numbers of COVID-19 cases on construction jobsites and what to do about it. The Mayor’s Office later explained why construction workers are at high risk and the crucial precautions to prevent infections.

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As the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council Approaches its 125th anniversary in February, labor leaders reflect on what’s kept the council’s fight for the future of working tradespeople alive and thriving through many decades of political and economic change.

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