SAN FRANCISCO, July 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Mayor's office submitted a budget proposal that fails to address the seriousness of the pandemic's impact to San Francisco communities and the resulting recession by balancing the budget on the backs of workers and services.
In the wake of COVID-19, city workers have given back $49 million in scheduled raises, with a potential $50 million more the following year, while risking their lives every day. City workers increasingly do more with less; as of June 1, there was over $560 million in annualized vacant budgeted positions.
The sacrifices by San Francisco's workforce have covered most of the projected budget shortfall. The Mayor's office has a path forward that doesn't rely on further harmful cuts.
"Since day one we've been working at COVID testing sites, local food banks and with the homeless. We need SF leaders to fund services while we do our part keeping our community strong," said Nzugu Kitenge, who normally works as Library Assistant and is member of SEIU 1021. During the COVID-19 pandemic she and library coworkers have stepped up as disaster service workers.
"Our members have been in the field, uninterrupted by the crisis, maintaining key infrastructure to support our city. We keep the power, water and others systems online and need city leaders to value this important work, especially during a crisis," Larry Mazzola, Jr., PEC Vice-Chair and President of the SF Building and Construction Trades Council.
San Francisco residents and city workers need a budget that takes action by tapping the rainy day funds and existing reserves. Over one billion dollars in reserves has been built over the past ten years and during the City's worst public health crisis the Mayor's office is choosing to only use 1/3rd over two years. Additionally, the city must also curtail contracting-out, and pursue new revenue by ensuring billionaire CEO's are paying their fair share to fund public services.
"Over 5000 disaster service workers and San Francisco community members have signed a petition to Mayor Breed asking that the city stabilize services and spend down rainy day funds to maintain the structure of our pandemic response. Frontline workers continue to answer the call and we need to keep them working to get through this crisis and support or economic recovery," said Rudy Gonzalez, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council.
Now that the Mayor's office has submitted their proposed budget, the Board of Supervisors' Budget Committee will engage in deliberations around the proposal over the next few weeks.
"Cutting services and laying off public workers will cripple our COVID-19 response and slow our recovery in the long run," said Gus Vallejo, IFPTE Local 21 President. "San Francisco is currently in a major COVID-19 surge. In just 10 days this month, we have had 5,000 to 6,000 cases of COVID-19. We need more investment in our public workers and public services — not less."
The Public Employee Committee of the San Francisco Labor Council brings together over 30,000 dedicated public service workers among 26 unions. Healthcare providers, firefighters, infrastructure & trades workers, engineers, planners, educators, social workers and others continue to answer the call to public service each and every day as disaster service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SOURCE IFPTE Local 21; SEIU 1021