SEIU’s Election; Cesar Chavez Boulevard; Arnold’s Legacy; Rent Control …

by on May 19, 2009

To the Editor:

Randy Shaw’s otherwise insightful post about SEIU Local 1021’s rejection of its tentative agreement with the Newsom administration contains the serious misstatement that NUHW, “actively lobbied 1021 members to reject the contract.” This is categorically false. At no time and in no way did NUHW attempt to influence the vote of SEIU Local 1021 members on the agreeement.

While some Local 1021 members have voiced concerns to us about the low level of member participation in negotiations, and the agreement’s lack of layoff protections over its entire term – which could result in workers being forced back to the table for another round of concessions in only a matter of months – NUHW took no action to urge its rejection. In the context of the current fiscal crisis, it is important that public employees and the City and County of San Francisco try to reach some agreement, however difficult, in order to avoid devastating consequences for providers and recipients of healthcare and human services, in both the public sector and the non-profit sector.

We can only hope, along with Shaw, that in the next chapter of this saga, SEIU’s misplaced priorities will not prevent Local 1021 from engaging its members fully in the negotiation process, achieving an agreement that provides workers sufficiently secure jobs and standards in exchange for providing the City and County temporary economic relief, and discussing and debating the agreement transparently and thoroughly, in a way that will win workers’ confidence in the negotiating committee’s recommendation.

Paul Kumar, on behalf of
National United Healthcare Workers (NUHW)

To the Editor:

Thank you for this article which I think goes to the heart and soul as to why this contract was rejected by SEIU 1021 members. It really was a referendum on SEIU International under Andy Stern’s leadership, and the reorganizing it did several years ago.

When we were just SEIU 790 facing the same kind of draconian cuts from the Mayor at the Health Department, we had more committed paid staff and more resources committed to organizing on the ground. Now that we are bigger and 1021, we have less on the ground staff and little to no communication other than what we read in Beyond Chron. You can go to the SEIU 1021 website to learn the “Daily Newswire” is out “sick” for the next week. Members can call the “call center,” which is located in the Valley to try and get some answers over the next steps with regard to negotiations.

Make no mistake, this was a referendum on Stern’s leadership which is draining more time, energy and money to interfere in other peoples’ unions — and to stop NUHW from igniting a more progressive collective bargaining process for many within SEIU who no longer trust the SEIU brand name. You can’t lead a movement if you cannot lead a union at the local level with trust in the members voices, voices which have been shut out trying to reform SEIU from the inside out.

Andy Stern and his ilk shouldn’t be leading a union, let alone health care reform nor a movement on behalf of labor. It may be time for either him or his members to leave before he takes more than just his own union down the drain along with the social safety net services for patients in San Francisco.

Nancy Lewis

To the Editor:

I personally think there should be no problem naming a street after Cesar Chavez. As a Latina, I would LOVE it — not because I am Latina, but because there are areas where Hispanics live and American names are on the streets. I think this is more about race than street naming.

Mayolly Zorrilla

To the Editor:

While I certainly agree that some of the posters on the Oregon Live news story put up racist comments, I would hardly use such nonsense posted by anonymous bloggers as evidence of a “racist subtext” to opposition to renaming a major artery in Portland in honor of Cesar Chavez. In fact, I wonder how many, if any, of the posters posting that garbage, even live in Portland (or even in Oregon, for that matter). I assume the situation is similar to when SFGate runs a story about gay marriage, and a lot of people who don’t even live in the Bay Area chime in with homophobic remarks.

Mr. Chavez was a great civil rights leader and labor activist; however, I can understand why some people in a community would want to maintain their local street names, and I certainly don’t think this means such people are racist or opposed to honoring Mr. Chavez in some other fashion.

Mr. Shaw, I strongly believe this sort of snarky and defamatory article helps to undermine those working to move civil rights forward, creates divisiveness, and ultimately leads to a backlash. I would have written the article without the gratuitious comments, speculation and broad generalizations. If you want to criticize the people posting racist remarks in Oregon Live, do so, and do it without impugning the motivations of those who may object to the street renaming for perfectly legitimate reasons (i.e. ease of navigation, preservation of local history and character, etc).

Chris Brown

To the Editor:

I find Paul Hogarth’s column (“Arnold’s Legacy: Driving the State to Bankruptcy”) to be unconstructive. Too much of a bad timemakes some people look for something or someone to blame. The truth is we are all to blame when it comes to our states nonsense. It is not any one persons fault. I can say it is, because a company opens and the local government raises costs all around it. People need to make more money over time, and living expenses must stay at a fixed level.

David Contreras

To the Editor:

The time has come to repeal rent control in San Francisco. Tenants in rent controlled units are like having children, and with rent control they are not forced to grow up and pay for the basic services that life any where requires.

Maintaining rental property takes money and services that continue to increase in cost. One example trash removal in San Francisco as little as 15 years ago was $35.00 for 2 cans, today those same 2 cans cost $150.00. There are many more basic expenses like this one.

Rent control should not be subsidized by small property owners; it should be up to the government.

George King

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Beyond Chron
126 Hyde Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-771-9850 (phone)

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