No one likes to ruin a party, but how can you be holding gala events celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge while attacking the people that actually make the bridge run at the same time? A very disturbing and heart breaking situation has been developing at the Golden Gate Bridge. Over 380 union members joined in a coalition of 19 unions have been bargaining for over 10 months without reaching an agreement, and now are down to a fight to keep healthcare affordable for families.
The Golden Gate Bridge General Manager and Board have insisted on concessions to help them out of a short term budget challenge but have given the non-union employees at the District a raise in July of 2011. At the table, the union coalition has offered major concessions worth millions of dollars, and has been told by management that the District’s financial needs have been met. The District is now insisting on principle, not on real economic need, that union members should be forced into a healthcare premium sharing plan that unfairly burdens families with the highest costs. The District is also insisting that retirees’ vested healthcare benefits should be reduced.
In response on February 23 and February 26 union coalition members came out in force to picket 75th anniversary events and inform the public about the District’s two-faced behavior. On February 23, over 150 union members, including over 40 Local 21 members, picketed a Fort Mason gala event and on Sunday February 26 over 30 union members picketed a museum exhibition opening in honor of the bridge’s 75th anniversary. The Labor Coalition’s actions generated a lot of news coverage about the struggle including articles in the SF Examiner, and coverage on KGO Channel 7 News, Fog City Journal and KPFA radio (plays at 56:30). See video from the event here and here.
To show your support with bridge workers, e-mail or write the Golden Gate Bridge District Board and let them know:
- Don’t take away affordable quality family healthcare
- Retired employees who gave their working life to the District should keep the vested medical coverage they were promised
- Don’t reward non-union employees with a raise and punish union employees for negotiating
Please e-mail or write Janet Reilly, President of the Board Of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge District. Hard copy letters should be sent to P.O. Box 9000, Presidio Station San Francisco, CA 94129.