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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Waterfront Height Limit Spurned by San Francisco Labor

Posted By on Tue, May 6, 2014 at 11:59 AM

click to enlarge Will a labor war be averted now? 
  • Will a labor war be averted now? 

Never underestimate the politics of the small room. In San Francisco, small rooms add up big. 

We've written before about the "odd amalgamation of student council politics and Stalinism" it takes to win political endorsements, and a bit of that appears to have went down last night at the Labor Council's monthly meeting. 

These are fraught times in San Francisco's labor community. Members of the Building and Construction Trades Council have been talking openly about secessionism. They claim the Labor Council, the umbrella organization for all San Francisco unions, doesn't represent them politically and doesn't want to build anything. Builders have broached the possibility of leaving it altogether.

Last month, builders picketed the Labor Council's annual fund-raising dinner.

So Monday night's rapid and discussion-free vote by the Labor Council to oppose Proposition B, which would subject waterfront development to voter control, is an intriguing development. 

Building trades unions -- who want to build things -- are gratified. The service unions, which make up the vast bulk of the Labor Council -- and, by and large, favor Prop. B -- are not pleased. 

Prop. B-backing labor sources have told your humble narrator this is an act of appeasement meant to cool the embers of a smoldering labor war. With proper notice, they continue, the room could have been packed with Prop. B-supporting labor voters. 

And yet, one builder tells us, the standard pre-meeting e-mail went out late last month stating a vote on Prop. B would be taking place last night. The proceedings went down quickly and quietly. It was only afterward that the squawking began. 

Not that it stands to matter. The general election is nearly upon us and Prop. B is widely expected to win and win big. Laborites who support the height-limit initiative, however, won't forget what they describe as having the rug pulled out from under them by Labor Council leadership.  

"The election is less than 30 days from now and this ain't gonna change nothing," says one peeved Prop. B backer. "But they threw us under the bus in order to have peace in their house with these rapscallions." 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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