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UncategorizedUnion workers to rally at ParkMerced

Union workers to rally at ParkMerced

Janitors and maintenance workers lost their jobs when developer hired a new contractor

ParkMerced has ambitious development plans -- but now has labor trouble
ParkMerced has ambitious development plans — but now has labor trouble

By Tim Redmond

APRIL 22, 2015 – Union maintenance workers and janitors, backed by a broad labor and community coalition, will rally Thursday at noon to protest a decision by a new ParkMerced service contractor to leave more than 30 union workers without jobs and replace them with lower-paid personnel.

The giant company that owns the massive residential complex just hired Preferred Building Services to take over the work of maintaining its 3,221 residences. The developer is planning to expand the complex to 8,900 units.

The project has been mired in controversy for years, particularly because the demolition and reconstruction of many of the existing units could potentially remove them from rent control.

ParkMerced contracts out its maintenance and janitorial services, and for decades, through four different contractors, the workers have been members of SEIU, and the union contracts have always been respected, Colin O’Leary, an SEIU-USWW organizer, told me.

“The assumption always was that a new contractor would come in and hire the existing workers and the contract would stay in place,” he said.

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But this time around, “our guys showed up for work and were told they no longer had jobs,” he said.

Some of the workers have been employed at ParkMerced for more than 20 years, and a few as long as 30 years.

It’s kind of crazy that a developer already in a bit of trouble with the city would hire a contractor that has had labor problems in the past. The SF Labor Council has sanctioned picket lines at ParkMerced, which means that other unionized workers (including Recology employees, who pick up the recycling, compost, and garbage) are honoring the picket.

Among those who will be at the rally Thursday:

Jobs with Justice, Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco Grey Panthers, San Francisco ACCE, California Faculty Association San Francisco State Chapter, United Educators of San Francisco, American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, SEIU 1021, California Nurses Association, and Supervisors Eric Mar, John Avalos, and David Campos.

It starts at noon  at  Parkmerced External Leasing Office, 3711 19th Ave.

 

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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  74. Describe three things you are doing right now to change the terms of the debate.

    Hint – posting here 24/7 isn’t one of them

  75. We have to get them to stop digging us in deeper before we can begin to work our way out of the hole. They get paid to keep on digging. Politics is hard and sometimes it has to hurt, sharp elbows and such.

  76. But you still lose the debate even though you get to act out and call people names

    In fact the latter indicates the for,er

  77. Whenever a troll gets called out on it, he declares victory — yet for some reason still won’t shut up.

  78. Whenever someone on the SF left loses a debate, they try and take cover by claiming the winner is a troll

  79. More tech shuttles and an improved CalTrain will mean greater commuting capability.

    I am not in the business of trying to stop people move here who want to and can afford to. I support freedom of choice and mobility

  80. Enough will drive as to throw the whole system out of balance. You are forcing San Franciscans to pay more for fewer services all to cater to people who don’t live here and could just as well live elsewhere. That’s pretty much indentured servitude.

  81. Some will take transit. Some will work from home. Some will work staggered hours. Some will ride a bike. Some will walk. Some will take shuttles.

    People are very inventive if you stop trying to micro-manage them

  82. Most don’t and won’t. Look at the gridlock on the city streets and crowded transit these days and tell me that newcomers with money to burn are taking transit.

  83. The constitution does not depend on the continued existence of the people

    A job contract is null and void if there are no longer any workers covered by it, because they have all been fired

  84. This “scrap of paper” shit is some seriously low-grade trolling. You guys are going to have to try harder than that if you don’t want to sound like one of those lunatics who thinks court decisions are invalid because there was a fringe on the flag behind the judge.

    You know what else is simply scraps of paper? The Constitution. Laws. Treaties. Love letters. Photos of your family. Bills. Everything in your wallet. “What’s that officer? No, I didn’t rob this man, I only relieved him of some simple scraps of paper.”

  85. How many people think that janitors have high skills and are well paid?

    And in this case they want to keep their jobs even though they are clearly uncompetitive on price, simply because of some scrap of paper.

    Equals entitlement

  86. The same sentiment applies: The use of the phrase “entitled low-skill worker” is denigrating and nicely captures Sam’s feudal view of the world.

  87. There is no planning for even planning for another BART tube. That will not begin happen for at least two more decades, more than that if the neoliberal corruption we saw with the Bay Bridge grows at the same rate we’ve seen over that time.

    CalTrain intends to run at 10 minute headways during rush hour. Nevermind that it takes 20 minutes to get to CalTrain from anywhere in San Francisco.

    The Central Subway is capacity limited due to “value engineering,” and its cannot run anything longer than 2 car trains.

    The transit infrastructure is nowhere near on deck to handle existing loads, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of jobs and residents that the boosters have in store.

  88. jhayes, I do not see where Sam said that L_Mariachi was “entitled” or “low paid”

    He was clearly referring to the janitors.

  89. Thinking people that don’t agree with you are paid? Others are idiots?

    Interesting in a “I know you are but what I am type of way”

  90. There’s no point in posting “real content” in a conversation dominated by idiot trolls. You ARE good for a laugh, though – nothing more.

  91. Sam, that comment was entirely uncalled for. You have no idea whether L. Mariachi was an “entitled low-skilled worker” and only you could applaud someone getting laid off under those conditions. Your trash is really tiresome.

  92. L_Mariachi,

    There is a way around the issue of an employment contract. I don’t know if this is what is happening in this case. But I can relate what happened in one corporation I worked for back east, where we all had job contracts.

    Management came to us and said they wanted to change the job contract, specifically around hours, to enable greater flexibility. They asked us all to sign new contracts, and there was a lot of pressure from higher-ups to sign,

    In the end about 75% of the workers signed the new contract, but the other 25% did not, including me. At that point management said that they did not have a sufficient critical mass to unilaterally impose the new contract, and they withdrew the whole idea. Great, we thought, we’ve won.

    Until a few months later when they laid off the entire division. They then staffed up with a new smaller staff on, of course, the new contracts.

    Point being a contract cannot be unilaterally changed but, unless that contract says that you cannot be laid off, then it may not make much difference in the end.

  93. Its not just MUNI. How about schools? How about sewers? How about those thousands of $100K+ City workers? A given number of people require a certain amt of services. That s the job of Planning. Doing ‘individual’ planning, whether its Trinity Plaza or 8 Washington is a recipe for a nitemare. And there comes a point where the burden requires a whole other level or respon$e..

    Paris is one of the finest cities in the world, I’m told. And yet they seem to thrive with a five story hight limit (it helps that the streets are designed for that). SF is designed more for a 30-40′ limit – yet we put 250′ monsters into areas that create wind tunnels and dark freezers. Yes, there is possibility of expansion – but I believe its limited. Not everyone gets to live in Paris; all are gonna be able to live here.

    The real question is about who or what decides who lives here, and under what conditions. I’m already here, which is a big one. But I am given the choice of either making money or having peace-of-mind. Unless things change, I live (v) simply, with peace-of-mind. If things were to change, I could make a bit of money, keep my peace-of-mind, and share my property with others (albeit, without the life-time expectation of doing so). But in the current all-or-nothing dialogue, the majority doesn’t seem to want to let that happen. So, I continue to live simply, with my peace-of-mind.

  94. People are screaming for more new homes. We cannot ignore that. And if we build, the people who live there will also “win”.

    As for transit, there are ways around it. We can stagger working hours and more people are tele-commuting.

    And of course we are building, the central subway, are electrifying CalTrain. Further ahead there is a second BART tunnel and HSR.

    Burying our heads in the sane, and building nothing is what got us into this mess in the first place

  95. Well, if you don’t believe in zoning, then I suppose you could call the extra units a win.
    OTOH, zoning is supposed to take into account all the City services that’ll be required by X units (safety, sewer, transit, edu, etc). If you ignore that by shoe-horning in more units/people, then you set up a situation where those services either aren’t provided or will have to be provided at monumental marginal costs.
    F’instance, just saying “build along transit” is a great soundbite, but if transit is already at/near capacity, and you expect to increase population 50/150/300% then you will have to, say, build another unplanned MUNI subway on Market/Geary/Valencia/3rd. The marginal costs of building a whole new subway are FAR in excess of simply a tighter or slightly more overcrowded train. So, the City loses.

    Its called short-term profit vs long term planning. Activists and developers win. The rest of us pick up the mess.

  96. If the employer is a whole new entity then they are within their rights, I suspect that they bought up part of or all of the previous entity for tax reasons. So if they bought up the previous entity they are required to adhere to the contracts. The NLRB will have the last say.

  97. What I see here is a bunch of entitled low-skilled workers whose employer has realized that he can do much better.

    It is in the interests of all of us that businesses run efficiently and at the lowest cost. If that means a scrap of paper somewhere needs to be modified, so be it. A contract defines how you are employed, but not whether you are employed.

  98. Are you suggesting that an employer should be condemned forever to hire overpaid workers when the rate for the job is clearly less?

    This is an at-will employment state

  99. No negotiation is necessary. Via permit process, it is our way or no way.

    City wins. Trinity wins and tenant activists win.

  100. The ‘Daly-Trinity Spot Zoning Solution’: give the developer X+Y extra units over zoning in exchange for making X new units rent controlled. Tenant activists win, developer wins. The only loser is The City and uniform zoning.

    (thx for the Franklin) 😉

  101. “The project has been mired in controversy for years, particularly because the demolition and reconstruction of many of the existing units could potentially remove them from rent control.”

    Not if the permits are issued with the condition that all existing units continue to be covered by rent control. And if that is ever legally challenged, mandatory demolition begins.

  102. It would be interesting to see the chain of ownership here, if you buy a business you have to adhere to all of it’s contractual obligations.

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