This was the smaller, quieter labor rally at Civic Center today – basically, it was aimed at just one person, Senator Diane Feinstein. A host of elected officials called on her to support the federal Employee Free Choice Act on the steps of City Hall.
Read all about it, below.
Supervisor Eric Mar, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Assessor Phil Ting and John Rizzo were all up there behind the podium this afternoon:
Local Asian and Environmental leaders Come Together to Support Workers’ Rights
Coalition Says Employee Free Choice Act Provides Critical Protections for Vulnerable Workers; Calls on Senator Feinstein to Support Critical Legislation
San Francisco, CA (May 28th, 2009) — Local Asian and environmental leaders today called on Senator Diane Feinstein to support critical workers’ rights legislation pending in the United States Senate. The Employee Free Choice Act, which will allow workers the choice to form a union and toughen penalties against corporations that violate workers’ rights, is critical to leveling the playing field for working people and creating good jobs with health care and secure retirement.
“San Francisco’s Asian and immigrant community is particularly affected by unfair and unsafe workplace practices like exposure to toxic chemicals and workplace discrimination,” said San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar. “The Employee Free Choice Act provides important protections for all workers, including the most vulnerable, and that’s why it’s so important that Senator Feinstein support this legislation.”
The Employee Free Choice Act will allow workers the choice to form a union through majority sign-up, helps workers secure a contract with employers in a reasonable amount of time and toughen penalties against corporations that harass or intimidate workers who are trying to form a union.
As union members and environmentalists come together to urge the creation of millions of new jobs in the clean energy economy, it is important that these green jobs be good jobs. Union workers earn roughly 30 percent more than their non-union counterparts, and are more likely to be covered by health insurance and have a pension. In addition, efforts to improve workers’ rights are closely linked to protecting the environment.
“Working people are the front line of defense against hazardous pollution and dangerous chemicals in the workplace. Providing a fair way for workers to form a union is an important way to make sure our economy is safe, productive, and fair for everybody,” said John Rizzo, an activist with the local Sierra Club Chapter. “The Employee Free Choice Act would give workers the ability to protect themselves and their workplaces, to work for decent pay, be treated with dignity and take care of their families.”
Sierra Club President Allison Chin recently noted, “Sierra Club members overwhelmingly support Employee Free Choice Act because they understand that the right to organize would not only help safeguard the health and safety of workers, but also increase access to good jobs in the growing green economy, particularly for traditionally under-represented communities, such as women and Asian Pacific American minorities, who have suffered from workplace discrimination.”
Also in attendance at today’s event were Board of Supervisors President David Chiu; Assessor Phil Ting; Leon Chow, SEIU-UHW; Chinese Progressive Association; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance San Francisco Chapter; Chinese For Affirmative Action; National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.