San Francisco – More than 1,000 city workers and community activists protested last March 7 at noon in front of SF Municipal Transportation Agency and Human Resources Department in honor of International Women’s Day.
The rally came less than a month after a City ombudsman’s investigation uncovered a pattern of “bullying and verbally abusive behavior” by supervisors at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), including numerous incidents of alleged sexual harassment that were met with a “culture of silence” by the city’s human resources department.
While the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) employs the most women of color in the region in its departments, hospitals, clinics, and agencies, women of color generally occupy lower paid and less stable positions — including those that care for the city’s sick and elderly.
Theresa Rutherford, a Laguna Honda Hospital patient care assistant and SEIU 1021 San Francisco vice-president, said, “We’re proud that our city’s mayor is a woman of color, who was raised in San Francisco, who can lift up the issues facing our community. We’re urging Mayor Breed and our city leaders to address sexual harassment, and racial and gender discrimination facing thousands city workers.”
Nearly 5,600 CCSF employed public service professionals represented by IFPTE Local 21 have also called on city leaders to use CCSF’s power as the community’s largest employer to help women and communities of color close the income gap and fight back against workplace harassment and discrimination.
“Employment with the City and County of San Francisco should be a place where working women, LGBTQIA people, and people of color can find a rewarding middle-class career ladder and a workplace that respects their rights,” said IFPTE Local 21 Bargaining Team member Frances Hsieh. “Today, too many workers are falling behind, more jobs are being outsourced, and the City is proposing to roll back collectively bargained contract provisions that protect employees from discrimination.”
Collectively IFPTE 21 and SEIU 1021 represent more than 20,000 employees of the City and County of San Francisco.