SEIU 1021

Hundreds of SF City & County Workers Rally to Call on the Mayor to “Staff Up SF” and Solve City’s Staffing Crisis



Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Contact: Andrew Baker

Hundreds of SF City & County Workers Rally to Call on the Mayor to “Staff Up SF” and Solve City’s Staffing Crisis

With over 3,800 vacant yet budgeted positions spread across City departments, workers demand solutions to the vacancy crisis impacting essential public services

(San Francisco, CA) — On Wednesday, February 16, hundreds of San Francisco City and County workers from across the city’s public unions rallied outside of City Hall and called on the Mayor to “Staff Up San Francisco.”

At a rousing rally, City and County workers chanted, displayed signs, and shared moving stories about the myriad ways they have seen the City’s staffing crisis have real impacts on this city’s residents. Speakers and attendees came from unions representing a broad range of City departments, including workers in healthcare, transportation, the building trades, public works, city parks, the fire department, and more. 

You can view a live stream of the event on the SF Labor Council Facebook page. Photos and b-roll footage from the event can be found here. Spokespeople are available for interviews in English, Spanish, and Cantonese.

“As a nurse, I know firsthand how important it is to have enough staff. It’s a matter of life and death. When patients come into our city’s hospitals, they rely on frontline employees at the bedside, as well as the porters, clerks, nutrition workers, laundry staff, and more. You want to know that you have the care of a well-rested and safely-staffed healthcare team when you need us,” said Nebyat Negaci, a Licensed Vocational Nurse at Laguna Honda Hospital and member of SEIU Local 1021 who has worked for the city for 18 years.

Despite San Francisco’s recent budget surpluses, the Mayoral Administration has left crucial public services dangerously understaffed. There are currently over 3,800 vacant funded full-time positions for the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF). 

“We fight the good fight every single day to keep San Francisco safe. But we are tired. We are outnumbered. Our frontline staff are struggling. Across the city, there are over 3,800 unfilled job positions. We need a budget that prioritizes our vital public services and the hard working city workers who provide them. Help us help you,” said Deanna Chan, Occupational Therapist and IFPTE Local 21 Rehab Chapter President.

When understaffing is this bad, full and timely public services can’t be provided. It’s a crisis that has been stretching workers thin for years but has been blown wide open by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is nothing new. We were down firefighters before the pandemic. We were down public health nurses before the pandemic. This is a manufactured crisis of understaffing. We are gonna fight for a San Francisco for everybody, and that means taking care of the workforce that has delivered day in and day out for the citizens of San Francisco,” said Rudy Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Francisco Building Trades.

As the City prepares to debate its 2022 budget, workers called on the Mayor and other City leaders to commit to filling the thousands of vacancies that are already budgeted for while using the City’s budget surplus to expand public services and invest in good-paying, permanent, city jobs that serve our residents.

“When residents turn on the tap, they expect clean water to come out. When visitors land at SFO, they expect that airfield lighting and security systems at our world class airport are fully operational. When residents use our transit system, they expect to get to work on time. Less than 50% staffing in our critical infrastructure classifications is simply unacceptable. It strains our workforce, creates deferred maintenance, and ends up costing the public both time and money” said Osha Ashworth, Business Representative at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers IBEW Local 6.

City workers were also joined by elected and community allies, who proudly spoke out in solidarity with the hundreds of workers present. 

“We stand with labor. We stand for adequate staffing. We stand for COVID protections. We stand for living wages. We are going to do everything we can to look out for the workers of this city. We know you are the backbone and the heart of this city,” said Shamann Walton, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

“Who and what is San Francisco for? Is it for the people, or just an elite few? There’s no excuse for underfunding lifesaving and essential public services. We need a budget that prioritizes our city workers, the services they provide, and the San Franciscans who benefit from them,” said Susan Kikuchi from the Chinese Progress Association.


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.