SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Twenty-three protesters were detained following a rally and march in San Francisco Wednesday that called on top city officials to forgo pay raises they are set to receive later this year, a union organizer said.
Several hundred protesters gathered in front of City Hall around 4 p.m. before marching down Market Street Wednesday evening. The march blocked traffic for about an hour and came to an end when 23 protesters were detained while sitting in a crosswalk in front of a Bank of America branch around 7 p.m., union spokesman Carlos Rivera said.
Rivera said the demonstrators who were detained were cited and released.
Organizers with Service Employees International Union 1021, which represents more than 13,000 San Francisco city workers, held the rally and march to protest proposed pay raises for city officials, Rivera said.
The group said that they have already given up plenty at the bargaining table over the last four years.
KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:
“We have been loyal to this city for years and now it’s time that the city of San Francisco starts showing their loyalty to us as workers,” an employee told KCBS.
Larry Bradshaw, Vice President of Local 1021, said the city has been talking about offering tax cuts to businesses.
“While we’re sacrificing, the one percent are making out like bandits by getting a tax break,” Bradshaw said. “So city workers are saying we’re done. You’re not getting another concession from us if you’re not willing to tax the one percent.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is pushing for wage cuts and for workers to pay for more of their health care in talks over 27 union contracts. The negotiations come as San Francisco faces a $170 million deficit.
The salaries of San Francisco’s mayor, district attorney, city attorney and public defender are set to increase in July as a result of a law approved by the city’s voters in 2006.
The law went into effect in 2007 and requires the Civil Service Commission every five years to set the salary for those elected officials based on the average of their counterparts in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
Rivera said union members are unhappy that top city officials could get raises while “asking for the fifth year in a row for more cutbacks and wage cuts” from the union.
“Our members are very upset,” he said. “It feels really unfair.”
Rivera added that the protesters’ message was two-fold and it was no coincidence that the protesters ended their rally in front of a bank.
“It’s symbolic that it was right by Bank of America because mega-banks and corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes,” Rivera said.
Organizers said similar protests are planned for April 30 at City Hall.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)