Fired municipal workers say S.F. hired cheap replacements

Nobody likes being laid off, but 11 former city workers say they lost their jobs only so The City could rehire workers at half their pay, an allegation city officials deny.

Eleven former Department of Public Works employees announced Monday morning that they are holding a weeklong hunger strike on the steps of City Hall demanding their jobs back, which they lost two years ago.

In 2004, the Department of Public Works laid off 40 general laborers, those who perform such duties as street sweeping and litter pickup. The 11 workers were “provisional workers,” meaning they are considered temporary workers and not afforded the same labor protections as permanent workers.

Labor attorney Renee Saucedo, who represents the 11 workers, alleges that the layoffs occurred to make way for a Department of Public Works program that hires people from low-income neighborhoods and pays them about half the salary of general laborers.

“No, that’s not the case,” said Christine Falvey, DPW spokeswoman. Falvey said the layoffs in 2004 were the result of budget cuts. A total of 614 city employees were laid off in 2004 by a number of city departments due to budget cuts.

Falvey praised the DPW program that hires from low-income neighborhoods, saying it provides on-the-job training for people to move on to either general labor jobs with DPW or jobs in the private sector.

Following an aggressive campaign against the layoffs, 29 of the workers were rehired, according to Saucedo. Saucedo said she suspects the 11 were not rehired as retaliation, since these former city workers were the most vocal against the 2004 layoffs.

Falvey, however, said the Board of Supervisors allocated money for the 2004-05 fiscal year to hire more general labor workers, and everyone was given an equal opportunity to apply for those jobs.

“They’re really not going to stop until everyone one of them has been put back to work,” Saucedo said.

Mike Wilson, a former DPW worker, said that since he was laid off he no longer receives any benefits and is struggling to get by. When he was employed with The City, Wilson was earning $24 an hour with benefits. “I need the wages to support myself in The City. I’m a San Francisco native. I’ve been here 46 years,” Wilson said, adding, “You can’t just close the door on us.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART study: Ending paper tickets would ‘disproportionately’ impact low-income riders, people of color

When BART eventually eliminates its magnetic-stripe paper tickets from use, it will… Continue reading

Police efforts to stem 49ers revelry in Mission District spark backlash

SFPD preparing for potential bonfires, vandalism on Super Bowl Sunday

First transitional housing project for homeless transgender residents opens in Chinatown

Project gives gender non-conforming a safe, supportive space to rebuild their lives

SF e-scooters burst into flames in Golden Gate Park, ex-contractor reveals

Photographs obtained Wednesday by the San Francisco Examiner show the charred remains of at least two Skip e-scooters

SF politico who authored vape ban takes money from JUUL lobbyist, returns it after media call

Supervisor Shamann Walton made national news after he proverbially smoked e-cigarette company… Continue reading

Most Read