SEIU 1021

Exclusive San Francisco mayoral candidate town hall hosted for SEIU 1021 members


SEIU 1021 members packed a room at the San Francisco union hall on Tuesday, June 4, for an exclusive event. The town hall featured the top five candidates running to become San Francisco’s next mayor.

The panel included incumbent Mayor London Breed, Board President Aaron Peskin, Supervisor Ahsha Safai, San Francisco’s 44th mayor Mark Farrell, and Tipping Point nonprofit founder Daniel Lurie. SEIU 1021 Vice President of Politics Ramsés Téon-Nichols moderated the panel; members Champagne Brown (SF HSA), Toborri Wright (SFGH), Ruben Juarez (SF Public Library), Shellie Wiener (SFUSD), and Trevor Adams (SFMTA) asked the questions of the candidates. 

“We are a fighting union. SEIU 1021 as we all know has a membership in San Francisco alone of over 16,000 members,” said SEIU 1021 President Theresa Rutherford in her opening remarks. “These are the workforce. These are the movers and shakers, the people who make services work in San Francisco. By extension,16,000 members with families, with relatives, can easily run to 50,000-100,000 people–voting members, voting families, in this city We want to make sure our members have the opportunity to hear from the candidates and that they have the opportunity to meet the candidates, look in their eyes, express their concerns.

“We move this city, we helped to build this city, we help support this city financially, and we also know what the issues are in this city. So it’s fitting that 1021, one of the biggest unions in California, gets to meet the candidates. Whichever candidate becomes mayor also signs our contract. We need to have an upfront and personal relationship as well.

“SEIU is very involved in politics. That’s how we advocate for our members. It’s important for us to be engaged and involved.”

Each candidate had two minutes to answer the following five questions on critical issues presented by union members:

  • Housing: Only 42% of San Francisco city workers live in the City. Many of our members qualify for inclusionary below market rate (BMR) units, and struggle with the inadequate availability of affordable housing. Many other members earn too much to qualify for BMR units but not enough to afford to live in the City. It weakens the City’s safety net to have so many safety net workers and first responders living outside the City. If elected, what will you do to make it more possible for City workers to live in San Francisco?

  • Public jobs: We believe that publicly-funded jobs should include healthcare, pensions and good wages. If elected, how will you expand city services and in-source work that should be done by public workers?

  • Budget: San Francisco is facing budget challenges. At the same time, many corporations are making record profits. If elected mayor, what will you do to close the deficit and increase revenue to meet the moment?

  • Schools: The San Francisco school district is considering closing schools to close a budget deficit, even though the evidence suggests that closing schools wouldn’t save that much money and the district’s main problem is being top heavy with administrators. School closures would likely more affect schools with a high percentage of Black and brown students. What’s your position on school closures and the role of the mayor’s office in making sure San Francisco educates all students, no matter where they live?

  • Transportation: Public transit has grown increasingly dependent on bond measures to continue effective operations. If elected, what would your plans be to make the public transit in our city more sustainable and attractive?

San Francisco Regional Vice President Kristin Hardy was happy to welcome the candidates alongside President Theresa Rutherford and see enthusiasm from members who joined.

“We had an awesome turn out of our membership from various chapters, and all candidates that were invited came out and participated in an informative event for the upcoming elections,” said Hardy.

“The town hall was an opportunity made available only to SEIU 1021 members to better understand and learn about the backgrounds and values of each candidate for mayor before the union chooses one to endorse for the November election.”