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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Union Workers to Hand Out Bittersweet Kisses to Twitter Employees

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 8:54 AM

The unions truly love giving the city a hard time.
  • The unions truly love giving the city a hard time.

Cupid's next target: Twitter headquarters.

At lunchtime today, union workers and city residents will be delivering Twitter their own special Valentine, and let's just say it's not going to be a dozen roses.

In a Valentine's Day-themed demonstration led by union members-turned romeos, demonstrators will march to the headquarters of Twitter to protest what they're calling "sweetheart deals" for corporations. Specifically, they're referring to the healthy tax breaks Twitter receives in exchange for keeping its headquarters in San Francisco.

Following a short rally at City Hall, the union workers will descend on the Twitter headquarters where they'll stick not-so-sweet messages on the company's windows, demanding an end to corporate favoritism. Then, in a truly bittersweet delivery, the union workers will pass out pieces of chocolate for the Twitter employees to enjoy.

"This is not about tech workers. If we see them we'll give them a kiss. This is about tech CEO's and city hall making deals that aren't in the public interest for the benefit of big corporations," says Larry Bradshaw, vice president for SEIU Local 1021..

Tech corporations and large health insurers are prospering at the expense of the residents, they say. While San Francisco faced an increasing eviction rate of 38 percent between 2012 and 2013, Twitter workers enjoyed tax breaks up to 55 percent.

As working residents struggle to make ends meet, price-gouges in housing and health insurance continue to soar, according to the union. "This lack of transparency in an out of control health market is not only hurting city workers, but all city and Bay Area residents for whom health costs, housing costs and transportation costs keep rising while wages remain flat," Bradshaw says.

He added that at a time when 13,000 SEIU Local 1021 workers are struggling to attain fair transportation and affordable healthcare, the city continues to assist tech corporations. According to SEIU Local 1021, the city has spend more than $600 million on corporations through tax breaks, and tech shuttles, like Google buses. To put it in context, that amount would be enough to operate the Muni system for a year, he says.

"Corporations continue to get a free pass while services are being affected and unjustified healthcare costs are passed onto public and family budgets," says Bradshaw.

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Melissa Hellmann


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