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San Francisco | Labor & Workers

SEIU Marches on Twitter
by Michael Steinberg ( blackrainpress [at] hotmail.com )
Wednesday Feb 12th, 2014 9:59 PM
Today in San Francisco members of Service Employees International Union 1021 rallied and marched on Twitter.
San Francisco, February 12-At noon a picket line of SEIU Local 1021 workers filled the first block of South Van Ness Street at Market Street. Chants of “We Got the Power, Union Power” and “When Health Care is Under Attack, Stand Up, Fight Back!” filled the air.

SEIU represents 54, 000 workers in Northern California.

A picket sign read, “Affordable Health Care Or Sweetheart Deals for Twitter?”

A worker speaking from the back of a union pickup truck told the members, “We need to make some changes. Say no to the sweetheart deal for Twitter.”

In return for Twitter moving its headquarters to San Francisco, the city government gave the company a big tax break. Hence the picket line at 1 South Van Ness, SF Mayor Ed Lee’s offices.

The speaker went on, “We should be able to take care of our families, workers should be able to afford health care. I was at the table when Kaiser got a $15 million check from the city.

Did you get a check? Is that right? Fair?”

No more sweetheart deals!”

The next speaker was Supervisor David Campos. “The problem with San Francisco is that it doesn’t protect working people. Twitter needs to pay its fair share of taxes.

"'Health care cost have doubled. We need to contain health care costs.
'Workers are taking this city back. This city belongs to all of us.”

Supervisor John Avalos spoke next. “Your rally here today is about changing how things are done in San Francisco,” he said.
“As for health care, we need not accept what health care corporations offer. We can negotiate back costs—or take to the streets.

With that the assembled marched up Market Street chanting, “Twitter, Twitter, You’re No Good. Pay Your Taxes Like You Should.”

A considerable police presence on foot, bicycle and motorcycle accompanied the march.

Along the way construction workers with hard hats got up from their lunch break to see the union procession.

At Twitter headquarters, the Western Furniture Exchange and Merchandise Mart building, we heard about the displacement of city workers, housing authority tenants and the threatened shut down of Legal Services for Children as related to big tech coporations being in bed with City Hall.

Meanwhile billionaire companies like Twitter, Kaiser ($2.6 billion in profits last year) and Sutter Healthcare ($ 734 million in profits last year) say they “are too poor to pay taxes” while they continue to jack up their prices.

Some union workers were dressed as cupids in red and white with fluffy white wings. They massed in front of the main entrance to Twitter, and left a big Valentine’s card in one doorway along with chocolates for the Twitter workers and another card explaining why they were there today.

The cops were massed at the doors too, making sure none of the cupids went in, and that the Twits could go in and out at their ease. As this went on a sax, tuba and drum wailed wailed and boomed.

Most of the cupids and other SEIU members departed, tweeting “We’ll be back.”

The police hung around the doorway as some Twits came out to check things out. A woman worker came out the door to retrieve the gift card and sweets. A suit on the sidewalk gave her some orders, then went in to take what she passed to him.

A cop announced, “The doors are officially open,” and business, not quite as usual, went on.