SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On Monday, August 24, hundreds of San Francisco's workers protested the city's current proposed budget cuts in a car caravan and rally at City Hall while the Board of Supervisors held public comment on budget deliberations. City workers from SEIU 1021, IFPTE 21, TWU 250A, and Laborers Local 261 were joined by community groups Coleman Advocates and San Francisco Rising.
Workers spoke outdoors during the caravan about the pressing needs of our communities and the sacrifices being made by frontline workers who are risking their lives in the face of a global health pandemic.
"In the middle of a pandemic, essential workers are risking their lives on the front lines of our emergency COVID-19 response," said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. "I and the Board stand with city workers. We must use rainy day reserves to prevent cuts to public services."
"We cannot stand for a budget that pushes austerity on our workers, and therefore our community," said Rudy Gonzalez, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council. "We call on the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor's administration to stand with city workers, stand with San Franciscans, support an SF Budget for All and help us recover through this crisis."
"We've been on the frontline risking our lives day in, day out, to make sure we defeat this virus and keep our communities safe," said Joseph Bryant, President of SEIU Local 1021. "We are asking for San Francisco to treat frontline heroes with respect and dignity. Don't balance the budget on the backs of the essential workers who protect this city every day. Now is the time to utilize rainy day funds and ensure the billionaire class is stepping up and paying their fair share."
"When you threaten public services, we will fight back," said Gus Vallejo, President of IFPTE Local 21. "We have over a billion dollars in reserves — they're there for rainy days and this is a rainy day."
"Today we stand in solidarity with our labor partners as they advocate not to have the budget balanced on the back of essential frontline workers who are keeping us safe during this pandemic," said Kevine Boggess, Coleman Advocates member and School Board candidate.
"We are dedicated to serving the public during this pandemic," said Theresa Foglio, representative of the Laborers Local 261. "Do not cut these services. Do not cut these workers. Honor our contract and pass an SF Budget for All."
"For the essential workers making sure we have all our needs, we're not going to take these cuts," said Shaketa Redden, organizer for Causa Justa Just Cause and SF Rising. "We know we have enough money for all of us."
The recent budget proposal put forth by the Mayor failed to fund basic contractual obligations to the city's frontline workers while instead dedicating millions of dollars to new reserve funds. It breaks trust with this city's workforce and residents, and it violates both labor law and the city's charter.
But momentum is on the side of working people and the residents who depend on vital public services. To date, ten of eleven Supervisors have committed to defend public services by tapping into the over $1 billion in reserves San Francisco has on hand.
The Public Employee Committee of the San Francisco Labor Council brings together over 30,000 dedicated public service workers among 26 unions. Healthcare providers, firefighters, infrastructure & trades workers, engineers, planners, educators, social workers and others continue to answer the call to public service each and every day as disaster service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SOURCE IFPTE Local 21; SEIU 1021