Thanks to everyone who came to the Labor Council’s fundraiser at the Hilton hotel. Despite my worries about how tough it is for all of us to raise revenue we ended up with a packed house and a fun program. Even Mayor Lee showed up after telling me he had a previously-booked engagement. There were candidates all over the place and most of them bought their own tickets. Thank you! The program was short and we were done well before 9 pm. We honored Fiona Ma for her 100% voting record in the legislature. If you didn’t see the “trophy” we presented to her, make sure you ask to see it the next time you’re in her office. It’s red and it’s pretty gaudy.
And thanks to all the unions we honored and all the other volunteers who made our defeat of Measure B last November a success.
Kuddos to Emily Nelson, my assistant, and Political Director Amber Parrish Baur for nailing the logistics of this dinner. The Hilton staff were wonderful and there’s a good reason to go there again next year. Thank you Local 2 for negotiating and organizing for a fair contract at the Hilton!
We also recently attended the funeral for two Local 798 Firefighters who gave their ultimate service to the labor movement and the citizens of San Francisco. I attended the service with many union leaders and San Francisco elected representative to pay our respects.
The funeral was a mass at St .Mary’s Cathedral with over 5000 attending. There were many speakers but I am especially proud of Local 798 President Tom O’Connor, who in my opinion had the most thoughtful words of the service. As a trade unionist he honored the two firefighters by illustrating how different they were as individuals yet he illustrated to all in the Cathedral how diverse our movement can be with intimate knowledge of the different backgrounds of Tony Valerio and Vincent Perez (who grew up three blocks from where I have lived for over 25 years.)
The Labor Council was also asked to emcee a rally outside the Transamerica Pyramid for the dockworkers of the Netherlands who were ripped off by $1 billion dollars of their pensions. This was co-sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the ILWU and we heard great solidarity and support from Chuck Mack and Rome Aloise and Willie Adams and Ray Fameletti as we were surrounded by a huge video screen describing the rip off.
I also want to express huge disappointment in those who filed a petition to open up a good union Recology contract that works so well in San Francisco. In an era where labor has been attacked by corporations and Republicans, here in San Francisco we have a contract that is subject to hearings and public discussions that provides the greatest service and recycling success rate of any major city in America. And the company contributes many millions of dollars to the San Francisco budget even though there isn’t an official “franchise fee.” The jobs are union jobs with good wages, healthcare benefits, retirement, and an immigrant minority workforce. Here in San Francisco we pride ourselves on doing things differently and better. Why fix something that ain’t broke? Unbelievable. Please don’t sign any petitions.
Tim Paulson is the executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council, an organization representing over 100 local unions with a membership of over 100,000 working men and women in San Francisco.