San Francisco Supervisor for District One Eric Mar just got the boot from the offices of Littler Mendelson (can guess their nickname*) at 650 California this morning. Why? Something to do with one of the firm’s lawyers attending the International Labor Organization’s 99th Annual Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
See it for yourself here at the IndyBay:
It looked like this:
“Shame on Kloosterman! Shame on Kloosterman!”
All the deets:
Police Remove Domestic Workers and Elected Officials from San Francisco Law Firm
Employer Representative Refuses to meet with Supervisors and Workers
On Thursday, over 35 housekeepers, nannies, caregivers and their allies,
including San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, and representatives from the
offices of Supervisor David Campos and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, were
threatened with arrest if they did not leave the offices of Littler
Mendelson, a notoriously anti-union law firm, in downtown San Francisco.
Domestic workers sought to bring attention to their plight in the run up to
the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) annual conference, which will
be held in Geneva from June 2 – 18. The Supervisors sought to deliver a
copy of a resolution that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
unanimously passed on Tuesday, calling for an end to domestic worker
exploitation and urging John Kloosterman, an attorney at the firm who will
represent U.S. employers of domestic workers at the International Labour
Conference, to support a strong ILO Convention on domestic work. Mr.
Kloosterman refused to appear, and instead the law firm called the police.
A video of the encounter with Mr. Kloosterman is available here:
Hillary Ronen, aide to Supervisor David Campos, said “This is a disgrace.
Kloosterman is calling the police on elected city officials when all we are
asking is for 5 minutes of his time. This man is supposedly representing US
employers of domestic workers at the ILO, and yet he is refusing to even
face a room full of domestic workers who have come to his office.”
Domestic workers called on Kloosterman to work with workers to pass a
strong convention to end the abuse in their industry. For the first time
ever the ILO will discuss decent work for domestic workers as part of the
conference. Juana Flores, a former domestic worker who is now Director of a
Bay Area immigrant women’s center Mujeres Unidas y Activas and the Caring
Hands Worker Association, will represent U.S. based workers in Geneva. “We
have been working tirelessly with sister organizations from around the
world, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. Department of Labor to pass a strong
convention which will help end the abuses these workers face, and I’m
saddened that Mr. Kloosterman seems uninterested in discussing these issues
with us” she said.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution to
end the exploitation and harassment of domestic workers on Tuesday, and the
Board sent letters to Mr. Kloosterman asking him to support the
recommendations of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Supervisor Eric
Mar, who authored the resolution and who requested to deliver the
resolution to Mr. Kloosterman personally, said, “Domestic workers help to
ensure the health and prosperity of families by freeing others to
participate in the workforce. But domestic workers usually work alone,
behind closed doors and out of the public eye, leaving them isolated and
vulnerable to exploitation. I had really hoped to convey this message
personally to the representative of domestic worker employers at this
historic ILO Conference.”
“Equality is at the heart of our American values but we are long overdue in
treating domestic workers as equals. They are the mothers and daughters
that provide vital assistance to our families, to our seniors and who take
care of our children, yet they lack the basic protections under the law
that many of us take for granted,” said California Assembly member Tom
Ammiano, who is coauthoring a resolution in the state legislature on their
The delegation of domestic workers leaving for Geneva tomorrow are
undaunted by the hostility of the law firm and the encounter with the
police. They hope to win the basic recognition that domestic work is work
just like any other, and should be protected as such. They will demand the
same labor protections that other workers already enjoy under international
labor law or are able to gain through collective bargaining, a process that
is not always feasible for domestic workers. These include basic rights
such as the right to rest breaks, sick time, health and safety protections
and wage and hour regulations.
*”Hitler Mendelson,” natch.