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San Francisco City Workers and Retirees Protest Proposition C-Report On KPFA
by Ann Garrison
Sunday Sep 25th, 2011 3:17 PM
Ann Garrision of KPFA Weekend news covered the protest by rank and file city workers and retirees. Union Buster Sean Elsbernd was a keynote speaker.
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San Francisco City Workers and Retirees Protest Proposition C


http://www.anngarrison.com/audio/san-francisco-city-workers-and-retirees-protest-proposition-c

San Francisco City Workers and Retirees Protest Proposition C

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Submitted by annie on Sat, 09/24/2011 - 23:05
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Download: San Francisco Proposition C Protest.mp3



KPFA Weekend News, 09.24.2011

Transcript:

A retired City worker speaks to San Francisco Supervisor and mayoral candidate John Avalos outside the Proposition C campaign kickoff. The Board of Supervisors unanimously supports Proposition C, as does Interium Mayor Ed Lee. Protestors said that Avalos was the only person attending the kickoff who stopped to speak to them.
KPFA Weekend News Anchor: Also in San Francisco today, a coalition of city workers, and retirees, gathered outside the African American Cultural Center on Fulton Street to protest the campaign kickoff for Proposition C, a measure on the City’s November ballot that would cut pension and health care benefits for city workers, and retirees, to balance the City budget. The protestors say that Measure C was negotiated between union bureaucrats, highly paid workers, including police and firemen, businessmen, including billionaire investor Warren Hellman, and, the Chamber of Commerce, at the expense of rank and file city workers. They also said that city worker retirees were excluded from negotiations and were thus unable to defend their interests. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Cities all over the U.S. are facing hard decisions about how to either raise new revenues or cut costs in response to worsening recession, increased concentration of tax sheltered wealth, and, the cost of perpetual war. The most hotly contested measures on the San Francisco ballot this November are Propositions C and D, both of which propose cuts to escalating pension costs for city workers. Observers and activists have said that what San Francisco voters decide will have a ripple effect on other city and county decisions about how to sustain the public sector.

Kay Walker of SEIU 1021 Westside Retirees was a social worker employed by the City of San Francisco for over 20 years before retiring. Today she joined a coalition of city workers and city worker retirees to protest the campaign kickoff to pass Measure C:

Kay Walker: We are all against Measure C and that includes many groups that are quite diverse, including the RECSF Retirees, 4000 in number, and SEIU 1021 West Bay Chapter, and the Gray Panthers, Peace and Freedom, and many other groups because it hits the retirees and the lower paid employees of the City and County the hardest.
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KPFA: Measure C changes the composition of the Board empowered to decide what health benefits city workers and retirees will and will not receive, and Walker says that this is a pernicious proposal.


Kay Walker
Kay Walker: That's correct. This affects everyone that either works for the City right now or is retired. The governance right now is member friendly; the Board is composed of elected members from both groups, and this changes it to favor the City, so they can make all the decisions. We've gone to many meetings over the past years; those decisions usually raise the costs for city workers and retirees, and this will especially hit people that have one dependent, who are retired, and people who are employed that have one or two dependents.

This is unfair; we think the City can balance the budget in other ways, and not use us as low hanging fruit. And that's a quote unquote, for people who have been part of the consensus coalition, so called.

This is not a City family as they state. It is a disaster.

KPFA: Walker said that the protest was high-spirited and well-attended.

Kay Walker: We had retirees, Gray Panthers, city employees, Peace and Freedom Party members, and we kept on going for a long time. The side that was opposed to our position didn't have a real response to what we were doing. I think they were taken by surprise to see so many people out there. Also, we passed out a lot of leaflets. Many were in great detail in a way that was never presented to union members or the public. We did our homework and I wish they'd listen to us.
Many protestors held signs urging NO votes on both Proposition C and Proposition D, a competing pension reform measure. Kay Walker stands in the center, wearing a purple jacket
§Sean Elsbernd Keynote Speaker
by Ann Garrison Sunday Sep 25th, 2011 3:17 PM
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Sean Elsbernd who is an anti-union politician is helped write the initiative proposition C which attack SF City workers and retirees. Ed Lee, the SF Chamber of Commerce and Spur are united with top union bureaucrats to support this anti-labor measure