Tag Archives: San Francisco

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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ADJUNCT FACULTY, STUDENTS, LOW-WAGE WORKERS, ACTIVISTS AND ARTISTS UNITE FOR ART & EDUCATION JUSTICE FESTIVAL

A rapt audience watches a compelling performance by Guillermo Gomez-Pena at No Justice No Service: Bay  Area Art & Education Justice Festival on Sunday, March 8.

A rapt audience watches a compelling performance by Guillermo Gomez-Pena at No Justice No Service: Bay Area Art & Education Justice Festival on Sunday, March 8.

Sunday, March 8, hundreds of adjunct professors, students, artists, low-wage workers, activists and artists joined forces at the Lab in San Francisco for No Justice No Service: Bay Area Art and Education Justice Festival. A host of installations, silkscreen printings, poetry readings and spoken word performances addressed pressing social and economic justice issues, including the corporatization of American education, institutionalized discrimination, income inequality and the related displacement of artists and communities of color, and invited visitors not just to watch but interact with the issues.

Visitors partaking of the delicious black bean stew, kale salad and polenta at the Slow Food Fast Food Cafe were invited to consider the injustice of a system that does not allow the poor adequate nourishment. 1021 member Cara Levine’s “Strike” punching bag installation highlighted the resilient spirit of working people. Danielle Wright’s floor installation was a visual and tactile demonstration of the challenges of race relations in the US, as visitors quite literally walked on eggshells around the subject of race. 1021 member Christian Schoff-Nagler led the guests in a politically charged session of Yoga for Adjuncts, where participants meditated on the predatory, for-profit model of online education and its influence on higher education as a whole as they performed simple poses. San Francisco Art Institute alumnus Jessica Tully celebrated labor history through intricate aerosol-chalk stencils in front of the venue. California College of the Arts (CCA) alumnus and event organizer Cassie Thornton displayed her Alternative Credit Reports, which examine the value of individuals’ non-economic attributes and help them demystify the construct of debt. 1021 member Art Hazelwood and students of the SFAI Poster Syndicate made silkscreen prints of 5 designs honoring adjunct professors and fast food workers on the sidewalk, attracting interest not only from guests of the event but also passersby. Fast food worker and Fight for 15 organizer Chris Higgenbotham performed a powerful spoken word poem about his experience growing up black in America. Renowned performers Guillermo Gomez-Pena of La Pocha Nostra and Keith Hennessy also dazzled attendees with hard-hitting poems dealing with race and social injustice. CCA students helped visitors create patches emblazoned with the slogans “We are 2 cool for a corporate school!” and “Take back our schools,” using stamps they had designed themselves, and gave oracle card readings. SF Labor Archives director Catherine Powell gave a compelling presentation of labor history in the Bay Area. These were just a few of the contributions from participating groups and individuals.

Activist groups such as Strike Debt, Fight for 15, Black Organizing Network-Oakland, Shaping SF, the Compensation Foundation and Critical Resistance had tables and gave presentations of their efforts to combat social, economic and education injustices in the region.

To see photos of the event, click here.

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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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People with Developmental Disabilities and Their Service Providers Call on Gov. Brown to Restore Funding

People with developmental disabilities and their service providers rally outside the California State Building in San Francisco on Thursday, May 15.

People with developmental disabilities and their service providers rally outside the California State Building in San Francisco on Thursday, May 15.

Gov. Jerry Brown has ignored people with developmental disabilities in his budget. They, along with their service providers, feel betrayed. Budgeted at 1990 levels, and with over $1 billion cut by the state from their bottom line, California’s DD system is on the verge of collapse—and Jerry Brown has proposed doing next to nothing to save it.

“The clients we serve don’t progress because funding has been cut, and we who provide services can’t make ends meet,” says Gary Gregerson, a direct service professional who has worked for over 17 years at the Arc of San Francisco, an agency that provides training in independent living, job coaching and employment placement, and recreation to adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. “I love what I do, but I have thought about changing careers. I can’t continue to live on $30,000 a year.”

Adults with developmental disabilities and their service providers rallied outside the California State Building in San Francisco on Thursday, May 15, to call attention to this serious problem–and to demand that Gov. Jerry Brown address it in his budget.

Gov. Jerry Brown campaigned on promises to restore funding to public services. SEIU 1021 endorsed him and campaigned for both him and his initiative, Prop 30. However, he seems to have forgotten people with developmental disabilities. His current budget proposals do nothing to restore funding to a system that has endured over $1 billion in cuts and is underfunded by over 30% annually.

All individuals in California with developmental disabilities (DD) such as autism, cerebral palsy and cognitive disabilities are guaranteed access to services to help them lead full, productive lives in the community through the Lanterman Act of 1969.

A network of 21 nonprofit Regional Centers, funded by the state and federal grants, connects these individuals and their families with the services best suited to their needs, and pays the service provider agencies for those services.

Three decades of direct funding cuts accompanied by unfunded mandates have resulted in a system that can no longer afford to recruit and retain qualified service providers or case managers and that cannot afford to meet mandated staffing ratios. This severe underfunding has not only caused unmanageable case loads, wait lists for services and deterioration of the quality of services, it has also jeopardized federal grants the system depends upon just to stay afloat.

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Hundreds of SEIU 1021 Members Mark Tax Day with Protest of Weakening of Vital Services

Over 1000 city workers, nonprofit workers and community allies rallied at City Hall, marched to Twitter and then returned to City Hall on April 15.

Over 1000 city workers, nonprofit workers and community allies rallied at City Hall, marched to Twitter and then returned to City Hall on April 15.

Over 1,000 San Francisco City workers, nonprofit workers and residents marked Tax Day on April 15 with a major protest of the weakening of vital social services and of the increase in income inequality in the City under Mayor Lee’s economic initiatives.

As part of the protest, 24 persons were arrested at San Francisco City Hall for performing acts of civil disobedience.

Prior to the arrests, protestors marched along the Mid-Market corridor, passing by the corporations that have enjoyed hundreds of millions of dollars in tax giveaways under Mayor Lee, with a stop in front of Twitter headquarters.  The march ended with a rally at City Hall.

Protestors cited significant funding problems for vital services such as 911 dispatch and San Francisco General Hospital as a direct result of the giveaway of hundreds of millions in City revenue to wealthy corporations.  The undermining of these services hurts working families in San Francisco already struggling with the problem of economic inequality.   Working and poor people are now being pushed out of the City in record numbers due to evictions, rising cost of living, and unaffordable housing.

“Mayor Lee’s San Francisco just doesn’t work for a lot of San Franciscans anymore,” said Larry Bradshaw, a paramedic and Vice President of SEIU 1021, who was among those arrested for civil disobedience.  “We see the results of Mayor Lee’s tax policy: more inequality for working people and less safe healthcare for everyone.”

The protest follows significant patient safety concerns raised by caregivers at two San Francisco institutions earlier this month.

Registered nurses and caregivers earlier this month decried the patient care problems caused by under-funding of the public health and under-staffing of nurses.  They reported that were no shifts in the year 2013—exactly zero—with adequate numbers of nurses and other caregivers at the San Francisco General Emergency Room. On every single shift, the City violated its own safe-staffing guidelines, as well as California’s staffing ratios.  Patient outcomes directly suffer when they do not have adequate access to a nurse.  The situation is so dire that patients may not even have access to the Emergency Room at San Francisco General.  In 2013, for at least part of every single day, patients were diverted away from the ER due to a lack of staffing.

“There is a culture of chaos at San Francisco General and in the way nurses are managed,” said Dan Merier, RN, who works at SF General.  “Patient outcomes are suffering.  We need to fully fund and fully staff our hospitals.  Any one of us could end up in the ER at any time.”

9-1-1 dispatchers at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management criticized a culture of delay for emergency calls in the City, noting that California law requires 90 percent of all emergency calls to be answered within 10 seconds.  Due to City under-funding, only 60 per cent of emergency calls in San Francisco are answered within 10 seconds.

“When you call 911, there should be operators to take your call,” said Ron Davis, who has been an emergency dispatcher in San Francisco for 13 years. “We just can’t wait 30 seconds, 45 seconds, or longer for a life-threatening emergency.  San Francisco needs a safe and efficient emergency system for our patients.”

SEIU 1021 has also filed a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in the City for all workers to $15 per hour by 2017. This is a key plank in SEIU 1021′s larger program to reduce economic inequality in the City, along with housing, healthcare, and transportation.

See our press coverage here:

SF Chronicle (Front page): “S.F. tax-day protest marches on Twitter”

 
SF Examiner: “Mayor’s San Francisco doesn’t work for everyone”
Op-ed by SEIU 1021 VP Larry Bradshaw
 
Gawker
 

 

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Action Alert: Tax Day Mega-Rally & March TUESDAY, APRIL 15!

SF rally for website 2

Working families are being pushed out of San Francisco at record rates.  Those that remain struggle with an ever-higher cost of living.  Mayor  Lee’s San Francisco doesn’t work for a lot of us.

That’s why SEIU 1021 filed a ballot initiative last week raising the minimum wage to $15 for all San Franciscans by 2017. It’s part of our larger platform to tackle economic inequality in the City.  That includes wages, housing, healthcare, and transportation.

It includes fair pay for the city’s own workers – and enough staffing to keep San Franciscans healthy and safe. But economic inequality is the defining issue of our time, and it’s bigger than just one labor contract.

JOIN US TUESDAY, APRIL 15, at 4 PM for a rally outside City Hall. We will then march to Twitter to demand they forgo their $56 million tax break. The City needs the revenue to fund the important community services our members working for the City and County and for city-contracted nonprofits provide, and to fund reasonable wages that keep up with the skyrocketing cost of living in the Bay Area.

Economic inequality is the issue of our times. It is time for City Hall and Mayor Lee to come stand with us in our fight to make San Francisco livable for everyone.

 

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Notice of SF City-Wide Bargaining Team Elections (Oct. – Dec. 2013)

Dear SF City Wide members:

The current contract between SEIU 1021 Citywide and the City & County of San Francisco expires June 30, 2014. Our first deadline is to complete Bargaining Team elections by Dec. 9.

Nominate yourself or someone you know in your chapter that will represent your values during 2014 bargaining. Download the Election Notice and submit a nomination form.

Nominations must be faxed to Tiya Thlang at (415) 431-6241 or emailed to Tiya.Thlang@seiu1021.org. Nominations must be received by October 25, 5PM.

Download here:  SF City Wide Bargaining Team Election Notice (Oct.-Dec. 2013)

SF City Wide Bargaining Team Election Notice (Oct.-Dec 2013) SF City Wide Bargaining Team Election Notice

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Kaiser is gouging SF residents and employees; Kaiser is probably gouging others, too

Kaiser stop draining SF tax payer dollars!

Kaiser stop draining SF tax payer dollars!

(See event photos here: Kaiser stop draining San Francisco tax payer dollars)

Dear SEIU 1021 members:

SEIU Local 1021 is committed to maintaining both Kaiser and Blue Shield as healthcare options for our members. We are also committed to keeping healthcare affordable for our members and will oppose unwarranted and unjustified rate increases by any healthcare insurance provider.

Our union has taken on the fight for more affordable healthcare.

In San Francisco, we are challenging Kaiser’s rate increase, which would gouge San Francisco for an additional $15 Million — despite the fact that Kaiser patients are healthier and require fewer services. Kaiser has so far refused to justify this rate increase.

From 2010- 2012, Kaiser has charged HSS $87 million more than it actually cost to provide services.  That’s a 13% percent profit margin, far above the Blue Shield two percent profit pledge.  Now, Kaiser demands an additional $15 million dollars for 2014 that they refuse to justify.

While SEIU Local 1021 members and SF residents struggled and made sacrifices to get through the recession, Kaiser banked over $2 billion in profits last year. That’s billions in profits while union members, taxpayers, and residents suffered cuts in wages, benefits, and city services.

We ponder:  If Kaiser and other healthcare insurers are gouging city employees, it is likely they are gouging all of us. In SF, we’re fighting for a solution to runaway health costs for everyone. Transparency is the first step.

Here are two things you can do for a more affordable and transparent Kaiser:

• We need members to come to a full Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, July 23 at 2PM in room 250.

• Call Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson– 510-271-2659 –to demand that they negotiate in good faith and provide greater transparency in their rate setting, rebate $11 Million to the City for their unjustified rate increase, and withdraw their opposition to Senate Bill 746 that would establish Kaiser transparency.

In unity,

Larry Bradshaw, SEIU 1021 VP of San Francisco, Paramedic at the SF Fire Department and a Kaiser member for over 25 years

Karen Joubert, SEIU 1021 VP of Representation working at Laguna Honda Hospital and a Kaiser member for over 49 years.

PS.  Read more about the unjustified Kaiser rate increase here:

SF Chronicle: Rate increase creates criticism of Kaiser

http://www.sfchronicle.com/health/article/Rate-increase-creates-criticism-of-Kaiser-4669119.php

CBS San Francisco: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/07/11/sf-supes-urged-to-refuse-to-kaiser-rate-increase-for-city-workers/

SF Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/city-mulling-health-insurance-options-as-kaiser-rates-increase/Content?oid=2507080

SF Chronicle: http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/S-F-Supes-panel-delays-vote-on-Kaiser-rate-4658217.php

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SEIU 1021 and community supporters halt Kaiser’s $15 million rate increase to San Francisco taxpayers—for now.

Karen Joubert VP

See event photos here: Kaiser stop draining San Francisco tax payer dollars

(SAN FRANCISCO—July 10, 2013) SEIU Local1021 rocked San Francisco City Hall today! A wave of San Francisco nonprofit workers, nurses, healthcare workers, museum guards, custodians, retirees and community allies— testified in favor to stop Kaiser’s unjustified $15 million rate increase allocation to the SF budget.  SEIU 1021 members and allies held signs that urged SF supervisors to stop Kaiser from draining SF taxpayer dollars—and they did!

SF Budget and Finance Committee Supervisors Eric Mar and John Avalos voted 2 to 1 to send Kaiser’s $15 million rate increase back to the Health Services System (HSS) Board for further consideration. Committee Chair Mark Farrell, a member of the HSS Board, was the only vote to recommend the rate increase to the full Board of Supervisors for approval.

HSS board has one week to reevaluate Kaiser’s rate increase.

For months, the HSS Board asked Kaiser for data to justify a 5.25% increase in the 2014 premium. Kaiser refused.

While Kaiser thrives under the cover of “proprietary” — reporting annual profits of $2 billion since 2009 — SF had to cut back on vital services in a recession caused by corporate greed. SEIU 1021 members and other workers had to give up wage increases and are paying more and more for benefits.

“Enough is enough.  Kaiser’s failure to report and refusal to negotiate are egregious and negatively impact all SEIU members, other workers, City taxpayers, and the City budget, said Karen Joubert,” SEIU Local 1021 VP of Representation and Laguna Honda Hospital Employee.

Public Flyer_Kaiser Draining SF Tax Payer Dollars 

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Local 1021 members fight cuts to safety net services

UnknownMore than 200 San Francisco city, nonprofit workers and their clients took over the steps of San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday to fight against cuts to safety net services that include homelessness prevention, HIV/AIDS health services and mental health services.

There are 50 nonprofits that are being threatened with closures or severe underfunding that would leave thousands of San Francisco residents without the critical health care they need. While the city controller says there is a $96 million surplus, the Department of Public Health is proposing cuts to its budget that would result in a $25 million loss in nonprofit services for the city’s most vulnerable, low-income and disenfranchised residents.

About a dozen speakers from members of the Board of Supervisors to union and nonprofit leaders spoke, including Local 1021 member leader Karen Joubert, San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson and Irma Nunez from the Coalition on Homeless.

“This year, we have a surplus. The choices we have as a city about how we balance our budget is vastly different than in the past,” said Supervisor John Avalos. “The city has more money to move around, and we shouldn’t be cutting these vital services that people are depending on.”

Unknown-2The low-income elderly, the developmentally disabled, HIV/AIDS patients as well as children and families depend on these 49 nonprofits — in danger of losing some or all funding — to provide them with health and social service programs.

As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions go into effect, safety net service providers will play an even larger role to the increasing number of patients who need preventative care. Yet the city is undercutting the goals of the ACA by underfunding or cutting funds completely from these programs.

These nonprofit programs and services proposed for cuts actually strengthen the safety net to help prevent the chronically ill from returning to Emergency Rooms, costing the community more money, and creating a wider service gap for the rich and poor.

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