City and County of San Francisco

Safe Staffing Saves Lives.


On May 19, 2016, hundreds gathered in front of the San Francisco City Hall to send a clear and vital message to Mayor Lee and City Officials. The message: STOP CHRONIC SHORT-STAFFING.

Short-staffing has been a major issue in San Francisco for quite some time now and it has become evident that our city officials have turned a cold shoulder to the situation, the city employees, and essentially everyone in San Francisco. Employees in the hospitals such as San Francisco General Hospital and Laguna Honda Hospital, the clinics, the San Francisco Emergency Communications Department, Human Services Agency, and the Courts, to name a few, are not provided with the help they need to be able to perform their jobs at an optimum level because of short-staffing. Consequently, the services available to our community are insufficient and unreliable.

In response to this crisis SEIU Local 1021 staff and members along with other labor unions, community allies, SF Board of Supervisors member John Avalos, and the general public stood in front of the San Francisco City Hall with picket signs that say: “Safe Staffing Saves Lives,” “Fully Fund City Services,” and “Solve the Staffing Crisis.” SEIU Local 1021 led the community and delivered petitions to Mayor Lee demanding for his intervention and provide a concrete resolution. In addition, SEIU Local 1021 staff welcomed questions from the public and took the initiative to educate the San Francisco community about the significance of the matter at hand.

“The rally at the San Francisco City Hall was great. It is beautiful to see when different people from different walks of life come together as a community and deliver one powerful message. Short-staffing is not something to be taken for granted. In San Francisco General Hospital, the Emergency Room(ER) is diverting patients 63% of the time, 15 hours a day, everyday. This puts many people’s lives at risk and this is unacceptable.” ~Jennifer Esteen, RN

To see photos of the event, please CLICK HERE.


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Hello. 9-1-1. Please hold.

911 ActionCould anything be more disturbing and incongruous than calling emergency and be told to wait?  Seconds matter in the kind of life-and-death situations 911 dispatchers face all day every day. But chronic understaffing at San Francisco’s Emergency Communications makes this an all too common occurrence, jeopardizing the safety of the city’s residents and visitors.

“We are mandated to respond within 10 seconds, but when we can’t, it’s scary,” said Burt Wilson, president of the dispatchers’ union chapter. San Francisco has a $9 billion budget and should be able to provide basic public safety services, but for the last three years the city has not properly funded 911 services.
Currently the Emergency Communications Dept. has 118 dispatchers when full staffing requires 180. So existing staff is mandated to put in 100-150 hours of overtime every 24 hours.  All that overtime, routinely working 12, 14 and even 16-hour shifts on an already face-paced and stressful job, is burning out dispatchers.  And the extreme fatigue those kind of hours produce can lead to dangerous errors when split second decisions need to be made.  The city just hired 15 new dispatchers, but it takes nine months to a year to train them.
“People are leaving faster than we can replace them. We’ve lost 30 people in the last two years,” said Cathy Osorio, a dispatcher and union chief steward.  “At this rate we will never catch up to where we need to be.  We are devoted to our jobs and understand how essential our work is to the community, but this is not a sustainable model.”
As the Board of Supervisors is deciding the city’s budget for the next year, the 911 dispatchers and their union, SEIU 1021, are held an emergency rally, Thursday, May 12 to draw attention to this vital public safety issue.
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Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Alert Public of Chronic Understaffing and Title 22 Staffing Ratio Violations in SFDPH


Informational Picket Educates Public on Problem of Understaffing at San Francisco General Hospital and San Francisco Department of Public Health

Could Potentially Compromise Delivery of Care and Patient Safety as Health Research Demonstrates Nurse Understaffing Leads to Worse Patient Outcomes

Registered nurses, Nursing Assistants, Radiology Techs, and other healthcare workers gathered outside General Hospital on Thursday, February 25 to ring the alarm bell for the public about chronic understaffing and Title 22 violations occurring across SF Department of Public facilities.

Although San Francisco is on the verge of opening a new hospital building, the healthcare workers will report on the ongoing and unaddressed issue of understaffing.

For example, when nurses are on their legally-mandated breaks, they utilize a buddy system which puts them and the hospital out of compliance with Title 22 Staffing Ratio Laws. During break time, this buddy system could potentially place 1 nurse responsible for up to 10 patients, depending on the unit they work on.

Another example of short staffing occurs in the radiology department. San Francisco General is a Level 1 trauma center that relies heavily on the radiology department to perform imaging in a timely manner. Understaffing in this department could lead to a delay in care, and every minute counts for trauma patients.

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VOTE for Working People! San Francisco Endorsements 2015

San Francisco is at a turning point, and this election could lay the groundwork for us to take back our city! Make sure your coworkers know how to cut through the mailers and misinformation this election season and vote for a better city for working people.

Register to vote by Tuesday, October 19!
Vote by mail or in person by Tuesday, November 3!


Mayor: Ranked Choice

1. Francisco Herrera

2. Amy Farah-Weiss

Supervisor District 3: Aaron Peskin

Sheriff: Ross Mirkarimi

City College Board: Tom Temprano

Local Ballot Propositions


Housing Bond

No position. The bond will provide $310 million for affordable housing. It requires a 2/3 vote. SEIU 1021 took a NO POSITION because of the negative impacts on contracting out of work.


Paid Parental Leave for City Workers

Allows both parents, when both work for the City, to take the maximum allowable paid parental leave.

C – NO

Expenditure Lobbyists

This measure would interfere with our advocacy for worker issues and force disclosure of bargaining positions during contract negotiations.


Mission Rock Development

40% Affordable Housing

E – NO

Requirements for Public Meetings

Unfairly advantages companies with money to prepare video testimony


Short Term Residential Rentals

Allow the City to enforce regulations on ad-hoc hotels

G – NO

Disclosures Regarding Renewable Energy

This measure was introduced before Measure H. Measure H is the compromise between all parties.


Defining Clean, Green, and Renewable Energy

Supports renewable energy plans in SF.


Suspension of Market-Rate Development in the Mission District

Support sustainable, affordable development


Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund

Support small, local business owners


Surplus Public Lands

Prioritize affordable housing when the City sells property


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San Francisco Nonprofit Workers Win 5% Raise Over 2 Years

SF nonprofit workers came to City Hall on April 22 to tell the Board of Supervisors why we need a long-term solution to the chronic funding shortfalls to nonprofits--and a meaningful increase in the interim.

SF nonprofit workers came to City Hall on April 22 to tell the Board of Supervisors why we need a long-term solution to the chronic funding shortfalls to nonprofits–and a meaningful increase in the interim.

The past several years have been challenging for San Francisco nonprofits, to say the least.

The fight to restore funding lost during the Great Recession has been bitter each year, culminating in nominal increases and–in last year’s case–broken promises from the Board of Supervisors to provide supplemental funding in the case of a budget surplus.

Each year, the mayor has shortchanged nonprofits in his budget, leaving us to fight for crumbs during the “add-back process,” by which the Supervisors allocate additional funding with whatever is left after their changes to the mayor’s proposed budget.

This process has not served nonprofits—or their workers—well. We got 2% in 2012 after years of flat funding, but only 1.5% per year for the following two years.

This year, we requested a meaningful cost-of-living increase over two years to make sure we can start catching up with the skyrocketing cost of living while we work together with the Controller, nonprofit employers and the Board of Supervisors to identify in the newly formed working group we advocated for in April to identify a long-term solution to the chronic nonprofit funding woes.

With the City coffers in better shape than they have been in a long time, and pressure early on from nonprofit workers, City Hall was not eager for another fight from us and allocated an additional 2.5% (about $12.5 million) in funding to nonprofits per year for the next two years.

The Board of Supervisors and the Controller intend for that increase to be passed through to the nonprofit workers. We will now work to make sure that happens and that nonprofit workers get the raises they so desperately need and richly deserve!

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Labor Advocates Cheer Progress of Bay Area’s Minimum Wage Campaigns

San Francisco Starts Path to $15 May 1, Votes Upcoming in Emeryville (May 5) and Berkeley (June) 

San Francisco–More than 142,000 workers are expected to eventually earn a raise as San Francisco’s minimum wage starts rising towards $15, with the first increase to $12.25 occurring on May 1. Joining San Francisco on the path to $15 are the cities of Emeryville and Berkeley, which will hold votes on May 5, and sometime in June, respectively, as their cities look to raise their own minimum wages.

This momentum comes on the heels of Oakland implementing what is currently the highest wage in the nation, at $12.25, and after national protests on behalf of fast-food workers and other low-wage workers, including in the Bay Area on April 15 when thousands of local workers protested in the streets to demand economic justice.

“The fast-food workers have been an incredible inspiration in the fight for $15,” said Alysabeth Alexander, SEIU 1021’s Vice President of Politics. “They have sparked a mass movement on behalf of all the low-wage workers in our society. This economy is not working for everyday workers. We need to fight for $15, raise the minimum wage, and treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

“We are winning the Bay Area’s fight for $15. The Bay Area is moving to develop the first regional standard in the county for wages and working conditions,” said Gary Jimenez, SEIU 1021’s Vice President for the East Bay. “San Francisco and Oakland have set the standard, now it’s time to expand to Berkeley, Richmond, Emeryville, and beyond.”

San Francisco and Oakland voters overwhelming approved raises in the Minimum Wage last November. Proposition J in San Francisco won with 78% and Measure FF in Oakland won with 82%. The two initiatives were each originally filed by a coalition of SEIU 1021, community-based organizations, and fellow labor unions.

The Bay Area initiatives will benefit 190,000 workers, and add nearly $500 million in consumer spending power to the local economy, according to research by the UC Berkeley Center on

Labor and Employment Research. Prop J raises San Francisco’s Minimum Wage to $15 in 2018, and Measure FF raises Oakland’s Minimum Wage to $12.25 in 2015, each indexed to inflations. More than half of workers of color will get a raise.

Emeryville’s proposal will be considered on first reading by the City Council, and calls for a minimum wage of nearly $16 by 2019, with workers at major employers like big-box retail stores earning an immediate jump to $14.42. The proposal also guarantees paid sick days for workers, protects tips, and ensures wage increases alongside inflation. Berkeley’s Labor Commission in June will bring the City Council a proposal to raise its minimum wage to $15.99 by 2017, with community allies proposing a 2016 ballot initiative if that is unsuccessful.

SEIU 1021 will continue working with community groups in the dozens of other Bay Area cities considering raising their wage.

The proponent of Measure FF is Lift Up Oakland ( and the proponent of Proposition J is the Campaign for a Fair Economy ( Lift Up The East Bay is sponsoring Emeryville’s proposal, while Berkeley’s is sponsored by a coalition of labor and community activists.


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Oakland Airport Hilton, September 26-27


For the latest updates, go to:

The convention will be a transformative event, where members will gain greater clarity, energy, motivation and direction to step more fully into their power, with grace, vision, courage and knowledge. This is an opportunity for chapter building, engaging and developing potential leaders, hence making it a priority for staff and elected officers.

Q: What are the qualifications to be a delegate?

A: To be eligible, a member would have to had paid dues for any 4 months in 2014 as well as either January or February, 2015.

Q: Can fee payers participate in the nomination and/or delegate election process?

A: Yes, once they sign a membership form, then they can nominate and vote.


 Q: How many delegates can each Chapter elect?

A: Every Chapter gets 2 delegates automatically. After 300 members, each chapter will have 2 additional delegates. For every additional 150 members, a chapter will have 2 additional delegates.


Q: What is the period of time for completing elections?

A: April 20-July 20, 2015


Q: What is an “uncontested ballot”? (Previously referred to as “white ballot”)

A: When there are more or an equal number of delegate slots as candidates, that is referred to as a uncontested ballot and the chapter does not need to hold a full election.


Q: How are alternate delegates selected?

A: In case a delegate can’t participate due to scheduling, illness, etc. Chapters should select alternates even if the delegate election for that Chapter is uncontested or the Chapter does not elect the full number of delegates which it is entitled to.

Here are the rules for selecting alternates: All Chapters are encouraged to select at least two (2) alternates. Alternates need to be ranked by votes received (e.g. the highest vote total becomes Alternate #1, second highest voted becomes Alternate #2, etc.)

In Chapters with “uncontested ballots” (where there are more or an equal number of delegate slots as there are candidates, thus making an election unnecessary), Chapters are still encouraged to select up to two (2) alternates and designate these as Alternate #1 & #2.

Convention Delegates, who become ineligible or unable to attend, shall notify the 1021 Convention Election Committee in writing no later than 8/20/15. An Alternate or Alternates will then be credentialed and seated. Delegates who notify the 1021 Convention Election Committee after 8/20/15 will not be replaced by an alternate.

Q: Which chapters may select honorary delegates? How will honorary delegates be selected?

A:Workers who have recently organized with Local 1021, but who have not ratified their first collective bargaining agreement may select honorary delegates.  The process for selecting honorary delegates will be as follows:  two (2) honorary delegates will be elected at upcoming membership meetings.


If you are a Delegate:

Q: How will delegates register for the convention?

A:  Once the delegate certification form is turned in, the delegate will be sent a welcome letter by e-mail and mail which gives them directions on how to register.  (That is why it is critical that their contact information is on certification form).


Q: Do we pay lost time for delegates attending the Convention?

A: Yes, follow the local’s lost time policy. Anyone working from 12:01am on Saturday through 11:59pm on Sunday will receive lost time.

For example: If a delegate works anytime on Saturday or Sunday they may request lost time. So for instance if a member has a shift that starts 11pm on Friday September 25th but goes to 7am Saturday the 26th they may request the time off for their Friday shift and they would receive lost time per the guidelines specified in the policy.


Q: What are the rules around Friday night hotel stays for delegates?

A: Delegateswho travel 75 miles or more (one way) are qualified for Friday night lodging. All Delegates are entitled to Saturday night lodging (there is no required miles to qualify).


Q: What are the rules around the hotel stay on Saturday evening?

A: All delegates are encouraged to stay at the hotel regardless of how close they live to the venue. The local will pay the cost for double occupancy. Depending on room availability, they may request a single room but would need to pay the additional costs.


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March is Women’s History Month

(This story  was first published in The 1021 Voice, a newsletter for SEIU 1021 stewards and officers in San Francisco.)

By Larry Bradshaw, San Francisco Vice President

March is Women’s History Month. SEIU 1021 celebrates the contribution of women to our Union and to the struggles for social, economic and racial justice.

A strong union has literally paid off for women workers.  Women in unions earn higher wages, have better health care coverage, more rights to paid sick leave and vacation, pension plans and more rights and power on the job.

Women union members make $2.00 an hour more than non-union women workers.  The difference for women of color is even bigger with union women making 35% more than non-union women workers. Union women workers are 19% more likely to have employer health insurance and 25% more likely to have a pension.

In San Francisco, the union wage differential is even higher thanks to pay equity legislation our union helped pass in the 1980s. SEIU partnered with women’s rights organizations and the community to pass the strongest pay equity law in the nation covering both gender and racial equity.

Given the economic advantage of union women workers, it’s not surprising that the enemies of labor and equality are out to decimate unions. There are those who want to roll back the gains women workers have made. This has included several San Francisco Mayors and some in city government today.

Throughout history women have helped build the Labor Movement, often against difficult odds. Today in SEIU 1021, hundreds of women members continue that tradition by serving as Shop Stewards, Chapter Leaders, COPE delegates and Local Officers. SEIU 1021 celebrates the contributions of SEIU women to our Union and to our movement.

For more information about the history of women workers, see:

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SFERS moves toward fossil fuel divestment

At the urging of SEIU 1021 members, local environmentalists and the Board of Supervisors, the trustees of the San Francisco city workers’ pension fund moved a step closer towards divesting it of money in climate-changing fossil fuel industries. It also moved the city unions closer to investing their retirement savings with social responsibility, to use their collective money for the good of workers and the world.

This latest action by the San Francisco Employees Retirement System (SFERS) Board of Trustees, who oversee the pension fund for San Francisco city and county workers, is part of long road to change the world from fossil fuel dependency to sustainable energy practices. Spurred by the climate activists of Fossil Free San Francisco and 350, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution in April 2013 urging the SFERS board to move toward divesting its pension fund from fossil fuels. In February 2014 the SFERS board voted to move to what is known as Level 1 of divestment, using SFERS shareholder voting rights to reflect its position against fossil fuels.

Not surprisingly, little came from this timid action. So climate and SEIU 1021 activists pushed for the board to move onto Level 2 of divestment, actively promoting its anti-fossil fuel position individually or in concert with other shareholders to influence corporate actions and policies.

At the public comment of the SFERS board meeting March 11 Supervisor John Avalos, who has been leading the fossil fuel divestment issue on the Board of Supervisors, urged the SFERS board to vote unanimously to move to Level 2. He noted the two years the issue has been being discussed and how little movement there has been to stop the global warming trend.

“There is some urgency here,” Avalos said.

Retired SEIU 1021 public nurse Martha Hawthorne presented a resolution passed by SEIU 1021’s San Francisco COPE committee calling on the SFERS board to:
1) immediately cease any new investments in fossil fuel
companies or in commingled assets that include holdings in fossil fuel companies
2) invest in fossil fuel free assets such as renewable energy, clean technology, and sustainable communities
3) adopt Level II immediately and make a determination whether such engagement has the prospect of success at the end of 18 months
4) ensure that within three to five years none of its directly held or commingled assets include holdings in fossil fuel public equities and/or corporate bonds.

Herb Mieberger, a former SEIU 1021 member and the city workers’ representative on the SFERS board for 23 years, moved that the board adopt Level 2. The board voted 6-1 in favor of the motion.

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San Francisco: City workers flood City Hall to protest use of thumbprints to clock in

Protect our privacy

Above photo by the SF Examiner–See more photos here.

(Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015) — Hundreds of San Francisco City Workers from across departments gathered at SF City Hall to protest the use of their thumbprints and a biometric time clock at SF Museums. Workers stormed SF City Hall and delivered hundreds of signed petitions to Ed Lee and the SF Board of Supervisors to protect their personal information from cyber hacking and third party contractors.

The use of a biometric time clock at SF Museums raises big trust and privacy issues for SF employees. City employees are demanding an end to using a person’s thumbprint to record when they come in and when they leave work. Workers believe its intrusive and not needed.

“We are not opposed to a time clock, just a biometric one.  We would agree to use a swipe card to clock in, which is possible with the devices the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museum (COFAM) already has installed,” said Larry Bradshaw, SFFD Paramedic and SF Vice President of SEIU 1021.

City workers are asking Mayor Ed Lee to not implement the biometric time clock it exposes employees to cyber hacking.  Workers throughout the city believe the use of biometric time clocks could spread citywide to all city workers and could open the floodgates to more invasions of workers’ privacy and prone to cyber hacking.

Last year alone, Best Buy, Target, AT&T, Sony and the U.S. Department of Defense were all hacked, resulting in the theft of working people’s private and personal information. These breaches have put the personal information of millions of Americans at risk, compromising everything from addresses and birth dates to Social Security numbers.

“We have a personal responsibility to protect our sensitive information from cyber hackers and we should all be cautious of the potential risks involved with sharing personal information with third parties. Hackers can open fake credit lines, file false tax returns and create fake medical records and forge fake passports. Hacking of our personal and private information is the biggest threat to our financial security,” said Bradshaw

Many employers are concerned about hackers getting into the system and stealing that information once they have the fingerprint.

Jill Bronfman with UC Hastings College of the Law told ABC 7 that it is possible to steal someone’s identity with their thumbprint.

“It has happened. It could actually recreate someone’s identity and access their place of employment, their bank records anything that is using their laptop and using fingerprinting identification for the person,” said Jill Bronfman with UC Hastings College of the Law.

Event Photos:

Press Clips
ABC 7:

KRON Morning News:

KRON Evening News:

SF Weekly:

SF Examiner:

KPFA radio:

KGO Radio:

CBS San Francisco:


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ABC 7 (VIDEO): SF Museum Workers Protest Thumbprint Time Clock

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 06:14PM

City employees who work at the fine arts museums in San Francisco stormed City Hall Tuesday to protest a biometric time clock that will soon keep track of when then come in and out. This raises big trust and privacy issues for employees.

City employees who work at the museums were joined by fellow union members demanding an end to using a person’s thumbprint to record when they come in and when they leave work.

The De Young Museum and the Legion of Honor have had the system in place for non-city employees since 2013 and suspended it for those city employees who are union members. But now they want to reinstate it for all.

“They can’t trust us and we’re security, we take care of the building, the artwork and patrons and staff,” said employee Rayna Johnson.

See it here: ABC 7

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SF workers block pension investment in hedge funds — mostly

For some eight months SEIU 1021 San Francisco City and County workers campaigned against having any part of their $20 billion pension fund invested in high-risk hedge funds. But at its Feb. 11 meeting, the trustees of the San Francisco Employees Retirement System (SFERS), who oversee that retirement money, voted to put 5% of it into that controversial investment.

“This is really a victory for us, even if only a partial one,” said David Williams, president of SEIU 1021’s West Bay Retirees chapter, noting that the original proposal was for a 15% investment. “Our members’ actions reduced their exposure to hedge fund risks by two thirds. And even what’s left has hurdles to get over before it’s done.”

SEIU 1021 members packed five of the SFERS board’s monthly meetings and many of them spoke passionately and informatively against having their retirement savings put into risky investments. They also collected nearly 3,000 signatures of retired and active members on a petition against the proposal.

Hedge funds are aggressively managed portfolios of unregulated investments. They trade high risk in an attempt to get high returns.

The pressure had made the staff’s 15% proposal untenable, so pro-hedge fund trustee Brian Stansbury proposed only a 5% investment. Again some 30 members spent hours testifying at the meeting, hammering the proposal as not only too volatile for a pension fund needing stability to make monthly payments, but also too costly to administer, and lacking in transparency for members to know what is being invested in.

But when the vote was finally officially taken sometime well into the meeting’s fifth hour, the trustees went 6-1 for the 5% proposal. Only Herb Meiberger, a former SEIU member and the union’s elected representative on the board for the last 23 years, voted against it.

“One of the good things that came out of this is that we have many members mobilized and asking questions about where the money is going,” said Martha Hawthorne, a retired SEIU 1021 public health nurse working with Fossil Free San Francisco, a group trying to keep public investment out of climate changing fossil fuels. “Hedge funds aren’t the only bad investments here.”

Nearly lost in the hedge fund controversy, the board also changed its entire “asset allocation” formula, how it divides its investment money. The new asset allocation plan increases private equity investments to 18% from 16% and real estate assets to 17% from 12%. Global equity will be reduced to 40% from 47%, and fixed income to 20% from 25%.

Of concern to local activists was the allotment of $150 million of the increased real estate portfolio to Blackstone, the single largest holder of residential rental housing in the country and renowned for buying up rental units, jacking up the rents and evicting long-term tenants.

Left undecided in the board’s decision is the question of who will operate SFERS’ hedge fund investments. Will it be yet-to-be-hired SFERS in house staff or a contracted out hedge fund management firm?

There are arguments both ways. Keeping the work in house should allow for more transparency and control over whether the investments go into fossil fuels and anti-union firms or not. But it also raises the issue of creating an internal infrastructure and self-perpetuating bureaucracy invested in continuing in hedge funds. If this “experiment” in hedge funds goes wrong, it will be that much harder to jettison the program.

“This is the time for ‘due diligence’” said Jon Meade, a retired SEIU 1021 paramedic working on issue. “Who gets our $1 billion and how does that decision get vetted?”

In any event, it will take the SFERS board anywhere from one to two years to put all the pieces together and actually invest the money.

“This is just the beginning,” Williams said. “There is still staff to hire, infrastructure to put in place and questions about the transparency on how all this will be done. The guidelines for all this should have been worked out before the decision was made, not after.”

“We have a lot more work to do to get this board in line,” Williams added.

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San Francisco: City workers halt vote to invest their pensions in risky hedge funds

San Francisco city workers mobilized last week and delayed the city’s retirement board yet again from handing over their pension fund to corporate speculators, keeping alive the hope of stopping the transfer once and for all.

The city workers packed the San Francisco Public Employees Retirement System’ Board of Trustees meeting room to standing room only Dec. 4, as they have for the last several monthly meetings, with dozens signing up to speak at its public comment period. The only topic of this special meeting: How to invest the pension’s funds and whether to invest any of it into high-risk hedge funds — aggressively managed portfolios of unregulated investments — in an attempt to get high returns.

Since the time that the SFERS staff first proposed to the Trustees last summer that they add hedge funds to the pension portfolio, SEIU 1021 retirees and actives have intervened in opposition, claiming that as the contributors to the fund and its intended beneficiaries, their voice on these matters should be heard and heeded.

The case against hedge funds

At this latest meeting members arrived with nearly 2,000 signatures on a petition demanding no investment of the pension funds in hedge funds. And during the public comment session they hammered away at their criticisms of hedge fund investments.

Hedge funds are too high risk for a pension fund that so many are depending on for their retirement, SEIU 1021 members claimed. They cited George Soros, the billionaire investor, philanthropist and hedge fund pioneer, who said that hedge funds were too risky an investment for pension funds.

They derided hedge funds’ the low rate of return, citing billionaire Warren Buffet saying simple investment in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index would uniformly out perform hedge funds many times over. They cited the fact that CalPERS, the single largest pension fund in the country, was divesting from hedge funds because of excessive management fees and disappointing returns. Claire Zvanski, the Vice President of SEIU 1021’s West Bay Retirees chapter, said that Operating Engineers Local 3’s pension fund was “in the toilet” and would be for the next 20 years due to its investments in hedge funds and the losses incurred there.

They pointed out the lack of regulation and transparency in hedge funds. Even the Trustees could never find out what the hedge funds they were investing in were doing with that money. They pointed out that some hedge funds have invested in efforts to eliminate defined benefit pensions like SFERS. That would be paying to cut our own throat, they said.

They noted what Lois Scott, past President of IFPTE Local 21, called “obscene” management fees— 2% of the investment and 20% of all returns.

They demanded that staff come back with a more in-depth analysis of all proposed “asset reallocation” plans and their mixes, and that some of those mixes should include no investment in hedge funds.

They also criticized the Board’s process. Last July SEIU 1021 President Roxanne Sanchez sent a letter to Board president Victor Makras with some 30 questions on why the Board was moving so quickly on the hedge fund proposal and if they had considered critical questions on why move into hedge funds and make all the other changes to the fund’s investments. The letter also asked that the Board hire an independent consultant to “prepare a robust contrarian critique” of the hedge fund proposal.

Makras did not send a response until Dec. 1, giving the union only one day to review and analyze the 15 page document with 80 pages of backup materials before the SFERS Board of Trustees meeting where a decision was scheduled to be made. Worse, it didn’t even respond to most of Sanchez’s questions.

“The document just continues the booster-based support without considering the critique of hedge fund investments or their downside,” said Marguerite Young from SEIU’s Capital Stewardship Program. “There was no description of other pension funds that considered hedge funds and what they decided and why.”

Cynthia Landry of SEIU 1021’s Retirement Security Committee told the Trustees, “You have a judiciary responsibility to sustain your retirees in their golden years. We have lots of concerns with the changing asset allocations.”

Trustees stop, members go

Towards the end of the public comment period, retired SEIU 1021 paramedic Jon Meade’s name was called. No more piling on about problems hedge funds was needed by then, so Meade turned his back to the Trustees and addressed the workers who still filled the hearing room. He thanked them for being there and at all the previous meetings.

“If we hadn’t made the effort, hedge funds would have already gotten our money,” Meade said.

In the end, with the widespread union and community attention to the issue, and the obvious media interest in their actions, the Trustees voted unanimously to defer the asset allocation decision until its February meeting to give staff an opportunity to give them more detailed information about each of its investment proposals so they could make a responsible decision.

To sign the petition to the SFERS Board of Trustees demanding no investment in hedge funds, click here.

The February meeting of the SFERS Board will be held Feb. 11 at 1 pm at 1145 Market Street 6th floor in San Francisco.

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SF Superior Court workers strike for justice

Picket lines went up at all three of the San Francisco court sites — the Civic Center Courthouse (CCC), the Hall of Justice (HoJ) and the Juvenile Justice Center(JJC) — at 6:30 am. As workers arrived in the morning, they were greeted by chanting people in purple. Even court reporters and court interpreters, members of other unions, joined the line.

Chief Shop Steward Gary Feliciano emphasized that this was a ULP strike because management had so blatantly broken labor law in negotiations.

“We are very disappointed that the San Francisco Superior Court, the institution we are devoting our careers to, the institution that should be the beacon of justice in our community, would show such disregard for the rights of others. The judiciary is not above the law,” Feliciano said. “We are taking this strike action today to hold them accountable, and to publicize to everyone in the City this Court’s outlaw behavior.”

The noon rally at CCCC showcased SEIU 1021 members from all over Civic Center, from City Hall, the Main Library, the PUC, the Museum, the Health Services Agency and more. A delegation of AFSCME Local 3299 from UC Hastings Law School a block away, who are in their own contract struggle, came by in a show of solidarity. SEIU 1021-endorsed candidate for San Francisco District 10, Supervisor Tony Kelly, made a guest appearance in support of the court workers as well.

Solidarity first

In an important first for court worker solidarity, the court interpreters of the California Federation of Interpreters-Communications Workers of America nearly unanimously respected the SEIU 1021 picket line and joined it. Two of their members spoke at the noon rallies, Northern California field representative Anabelle Garay at the HoJ and Spanish interpreter Shannon Raintree at CCC. Almost all court reporters, members of IFPTE Local 21, also stayed out, many joining the line.

The interpreters and reporters took advantage of a recent PERB ruling allowing them to not cross the picket line without employer retaliation. That was the result of a challenge of the City and County of San Francisco’s Charter provision prohibiting sympathy strikes by city employees. SEIU 1021 contended state labor law supersedes that the provision. The PERB agreed, and demanded the City remove that language from the Charter, clearing the way for intra-city union solidarity.

The noise, the silence

Pickets covered all entrances at the CCC and the HoJ. The pickets at the front of the CCC were so loud that whenever a sheriff would open a door, the noise reverberated through the entire building.

The strike shut down most court operations. All the windows where papers are filed and fines and fees collected were closed. “The place is like a church on Saturday,” one court reporter said.

The effectiveness of the strike so rattled Court Executive Officer Michael Yuen that he appeared to be losing it. First, when a union delegation went into the building to deliver the official notice that workers would return to the job the next day, he commanded his staff not to allow any strikers in the building even though he knows he can’t ban people from a public building.

After that Yuen called his own press conference where he branded the strikers “a group of rouge unionized employees.” He went on to say the strike was illegal and threatened to file a ULP against the union for walking out when there is a no-strike clause in the contract. Those statements were silly lies since he knows a ULP strike is legal even while a contract is in place. He doubled down on that claiming nearly half the courtrooms were still operating, something any reporter who bothered to look could see wasn’t true.

The court workers are in the last year of a three-year contract. The employer flatly told them that they weren’t going to give them any of the $16 million surplus they were required by law to spend. To the union’s wage proposals they simply said “no” and pretended they were making a counter offer when they responded with an “offer” of no raise at all.

The union responded by filing a ULP charge of bargaining in bad faith, alleging withholding of information, never really negotiating and making threats to its members’ jobs. As much as they were disgusted by the Court’s not offering any part of the surplus, they were disgusted more by the way the Court callously spent the full $16 million without restoring a single service cut during the last five years of budget deficits.

“We are here on the picket line because Michel Yuen won’t consider restoring five years of cut court public services cuts and he won’t consider making us — the lowest paid court employees — whole after years of layoffs, furloughs and wage cuts,” said Beto Gonzalez, a clerk in the Jury Dept. of the Hall of Justice.

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Low-Income Residents Blast Mayor Lee For Poor Housing Policies, Lack Of Jobs And Increased Gun Violence In Bayview-Hunters Point

SEIU 1021 President Roxanne Sanchez and SEIU 1021 Member Phelicia Jones

On Friday, August 8, dozens of SEIU 1021 members, local elected officials and Bayview residents gathered at a press conference at Mendell Plaza to call on Mayor Ed Lee for support in stopping gun violence and improving income inequality in the predominately African American neighborhood.

Out of the 24 homicides this year in San Francisco, twelve were in District 10 — Bayview-Hunters Point, Potrero Hill and Visitacion Valley — where much of The City’s low-rise public housing is located. The dilapidated apartments — Sunnydale Housing Projects — shelter its residents from the dangers in the streets. In the Bayview, many still struggle to find work while San Francisco’s overall unemployment is lower than the state’s average.

“San Francisco is seen as one of the most liberal forward thinking cities in America and yet, in the shadow of our city’s growing prosperity is a vanishing African American and working class population that struggles between poverty and well-being,” said Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.

One of the biggest notable disparities in the City is the booming tech industry in the Mid-Market District compared to the lack of jobs in the Bayview District. While Mayor Lee touts the low unemployment rate, residents in the Bayview are still struggling to find work.

“We gave a $27 million tax break to Twitter. Where are the jobs for the Bayview? San Francisco is the wealthiest city in this country and we have the fastest-growing inequality in the country,” said Supervisor David Campos.

Residents in the Bayview-Hunters Point have been dealing with poor housing policies, an unsupportive education system, and high unemployment. Advocates called on Mayor Ed Lee for a comprehensive solution to solve these issues.

“We are asking Ed Lee to be a champion of justice and to stand and help the whole community that has been living in bloodshed and violence,” said Phelicia Jones, SEIU 1021 member and chair of the Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community Committee.

Event Photos:

Our event was covered by KTVU, ABC, SF Examiner and KPFA among others, below are the press clips:

ABC 7:
SF Examiner story:
SF Examiner photos:
KPFA Radio:

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San Francisco RNs Approve Tentative Agreement

2014 RN Bargaining Team

Here, get the flyer: RNs APPROVE TA 

We are pleased to announce that San Francisco Registered Nurses of SEIU 1021 have ratified a new two-year agreement by a 90% margin! The votes were tabulated on June 16, with a majority of RN members participating.

In 2014, RNs and our allies came together at rallies, hearings, and ‘Worker Wednesdays’ to call out misguided City Hall policies hurting safe staffing throughout DPH.

We also started a public conversation about City Hall policies that have made San Francisco the City in America with the fastest-rising rate of economic inequality.

This agreement would not have been possible without the solidarity actions of RN members, the dedication of the RN Bargaining Team, and the full support of our organization!


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San Francisco Citywide Tentative Agreement Approved By 96%

TA Approved 2014 for web

On May 28, San Francisco citywide workers accomplished an extraordinary campaign that ended Tuesday night in 96% saying yes to a three-year contract. Our newly ratified contract was a major victory to stop the shifting of healthcare costs onto SEIU 1021 members and we won wage increases that keep up with the cost of living.

“After months of tense negotiations with the City, we have to a contract that allows us to continue to serve the residents of San Francisco while providing affordable health care for our families,” said Karen Joubert, a staffing coordinator at Laguna Honda Hospital.

Our effort to tackle income inequality in San Francisco is not over.  We launched a series of rallies, marches, and advertising campaigns calling on City Hall to take seriously the problem of income inequality.

We have proposed a broad program that includes raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2017; protections for tenants and affordable housing; safe staffing for public health and 9-1-1; and an end to tax giveaways to tech CEO’s.


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Tentative Agreement Summary for the SF Citywide Bargaining Unit

We won a major victory in our ongoing battle to stop the shifting of healthcare costs onto SEIU 1021 members and we won wage increases that keep up with the cost of living. Our bargaining team worked hard to reach this three year deal and they are recommending a ‘YES’ vote.

Here, get the:


  • May 13 through May 28, 2014
  • Vote count: May 28, 5:30PM at the SEIU 1021 Union Hall.
  • See meeting dates and times below:

Contract Rat Voting Times Locations.xlsx

Contract Rat Voting Times Locations.xlsx

Contract Rat Voting Times Locations.xlsx

Contract Rat Voting Times Locations.xlsx

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San Francisco Workers Win Strong Healthcare Protections in Citywide Contract Fight

On April 15, hundreds of city workers and residents marked Tax Day last week with a major protest against the weakening of vital social services and the increase in economic inequality in Mayor Lee’s San Francisco. As part of the protest, 24 persons were arrested at San Francisco City Hall for performing civil disobedience -- sitting down inside City Hall to block the main entrance.

On April 15, hundreds of city workers and residents marked Tax Day last month with a major protest to end the Twitter Tax Break, weakening of vital social services, and protest the increase in economic inequality in Mayor Lee’s San Francisco. As part of the protest, 24 persons were arrested at San Francisco City Hall for performing civil disobedience — sitting down inside City Hall to block the main entrance.

*For Immediate release, May 9, 2014, 5PM :  Tentative agreement reached between SF City Wide Miscellaneous Bargaining Unit and SF City and County. SEIU 1021 RNs and MTA service critical  negotiations continue.*

11,000 SEIU 1021 Workers to Vote Whether to Accept Contract over Next Several Weeks

Workers Vow to Continue Push to Reduce Income Inequality for all SF Working Families

(San Francisco) The City and County of San Francisco’s largest union of public workers—SEIU 1021—today won a major victory in its ongoing battle to stop the shifting of healthcare costs onto workers. The win comes in the form of contract language, awarded today by Arbitrator Robert Hirsch, which sets forth a process for the City and the Union to work together on health care price and quality transparency, prevention of anti-competitive practices, and fair hospital pricing reform. The award also preserves 100% employer-paid employee only coverage and lowers premiums for family coverage.

SEIU 1021 members have stood together for more than two years to fight efforts by City Hall to shift significant healthcare costs onto workers.  Throughout bargaining, healthcare remained the top priority of member negotiators who argued that the City’s cost-shifting scheme wouldn’t address the real cost drivers in healthcare – anti-competitive pricing, waste and profit.

“Everyone deserves safe, quality healthcare. This victory for City workers is a step forward, but we still have work to do to improve healthcare in our communities,” said Karen Joubert, Vice-President of SEIU 1021.

Full details of the arbitrators’ award will be distributed at individual workplaces Monday, May 12, and SEIU 1021 workers will vote whether to ratify over the next three weeks. The agreement also provides for reasonable wage increases, life insurance, improved training and safety provisions as well agreements to create good jobs by putting restrictions on the use of outsourcing and limiting City Hall’s reliance on part time, temporary and as-needed workers.  SEIU 1021 continues to bargain contracts for San Francisco City & County Registered Nurses and workers in the Service Critical Unit of MTA.

SEIU 1021 vows to continue their efforts to tackle income inequality in the City.  1021 has launched a series of rallies, marches, and advertising campaigns calling on City Hall to take seriously the problem of income inequality.  SEIU 1021 has proposed a broad program that includes raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2017; protections for tenants and affordable housing; safe staffing for public health and 9-1-1; and an end to tax giveaways to tech CEO’s.

“We are pleased with the contract and it is a booming success for the Union. But we hope we have succeeded in amplifying the conversation about wealth inequality in the City. Income inequality is the defining issue of our day, and should be the priority for our city.  San Francisco has such wealth and technology that there is no excuse for the level of income inequality that we suffer under,” said Larry Bradshaw, Vice-President of SEIU 1021.


SEIU 1021 represents 13,000 employees in the City and County San Francisco, working as hospital workers, nurses, librarians, secretaries, janitors, hospital security officers, SFO Air Field Safety Officers, MUNI MTA workers, adult and aging social workers, child protective services social workers, 911 emergency dispatchers, food service workers, museum workers, among other. SEIU 1021 represents 56,000 workers throughout Northern California.


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SF Citywide Bargaining Update #5: While Kaiser Decreases Rates, The City Wants You To Pay More

On April 15, hundreds of city workers and residents marked Tax Day last week with a major protest against the weakening of vital social services and the increase in economic inequality in Mayor Lee’s San Francisco. As part of the protest, 24 persons were arrested at San Francisco City Hall for performing civil disobedience -- sitting down inside City Hall to block the main entrance.

HUNDREDS MARCH ON TWITTER: On April 15, hundreds of city workers and residents marked Tax Day last week with a major protest against the weakening of vital social services and the increase in economic inequality in Mayor Lee’s San Francisco. As part of the protest, 24 persons were arrested at San Francisco City Hall for performing civil disobedience — sitting down inside City Hall to block the main entrance.


Remember last year when we protested Kaiser unjustified $15 Million rate increase? We got national press coverage during our fight to keep Kaiser accountable.

This year, Kaiser decided to drop rates by 2% in fiscal year 2015-16, and freeze rates during fiscal year 2016-2017.

You’d think the City would reward SF city workers with more affordable options? You’d be wrong. The City’s latest proposal would raise health care costs to a majority of us, even though the City’s healthcare costs have dropped.

The Mayor’s Bargaining Team Insists On Takeaways.

Healthcare: Mayor Lee wants a majority of us to pay more in increased healthcare costs – as much as $1200 more a year for the Kaiser option plus one.

Wages: The Mayor has offered a wage increase of 4% over 2 years. The Mayor’s wage proposal means a 3% pay cut, because it does not consider the rise in the cost of living.

Staffing: Today there are 4,000 fewer SEIU 1021 workers on the job since 2008. That’s not good for workers — or for the public. Staffing continues to be a problem at our hospitals, clinics and 911 dispatch

 Stop the abuse of as-needed, temporary & part-time workers: We need real full time jobs.

Arbitration Begins On Friday, April 25

Our goal during arbitration is to win on staffing, healthcare and wages. If mediation doesn’t resolve matters between the City and the Union by Thursday, April 24, the choices will be in the hands of the arbitrator, who can only choose between each side’s “last, best offer” on each subject.

Our Fight Continues — April 30 — Worker Wednesday at Larkin Youth Services at 12 PM.

The City continues to claim a false $67 Million budget deficit, but there is money to give away to wealthy corporations. Twitter alone – a company worth $30 billion – got a $56 million tax break in 2013. Other tax breaks for corporations and real estate interests are costing the city as much as $600 million in lost revenue.

We are protesting the Mayor’s policies that are making SF unaffordable for most of us. Meet at Larkin Street Youth Services — 1142 Sutter St, San Francisco at 12 PM — to fight for safe staffing throughout all City departments, fair contract for city workers and raising the minimum wage for all workers in SF.

Action Calendar

  • Wed., May 7, DPH Safe Staffing Hearing at City Hall Room 400 at 1:30 PM.
  • Tues., May 6, MTA Service Critical Action, at City Hall Room 400 at 2-5 PM


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