Monday, Jan. 8, from 6:45 – 9 pm at SEIU Local 2
215 Golden Gate Avenue near Civic Center BART station
Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!
Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue
on all sides of these critically important issues
How the Current Tech Boom and Low
Unemployment Rate Give Bay Area Service Workers Considerable Power
Ever notice all the HELP WANTED or NOW HIRING signs in windows of service industry establishments — like cafes, restaurant, bars, stores and shops — throughout the Bay Area? The current unemployment rate in San Francisco is 2.3%, its at an all-time historical low. The causes are various, but it’s clearly due to the tech boom and astronomically high housing costs creating a massive labor shortage.
But this situation gives workers an incredible amount of power, which has largely gone untapped. This inquiry draws on participants’ own employment situation, borrowing from Beverly Silver’s ideas of workplace power (from her monumental book Forces of Labor), to find ways to leverage this condition — of low unemployment and high demand — to the advantage of the working class.
Examples will be given in the presentation (e.g. ILWU Local 10 here in the Bay Area has both associational power due to its union having a master contract at all 29 ports on the West Coast and workplace bargaining power due to ILWU’s strategic location at the chokepoint of the docks). We need to identify our power in our workplaces and strategize ways to leverage this power for higher wages, better conditions and social change, which is even more necessary as Trump enables attacks on the working class, especially state-level targeting of immigrants and Muslims.
Come prepared to talk, share your own experiences, analyze all of our living/working conditions here in the Bay Area, and collectively strategize how to fight smarter, stronger — and in order to win!
Gifford Hartman is an adult educator, labor trainer, working class historian, and has been a rank-and-file militant in various industries (organized by the SEIU, ILWU and IWW), and presently teaches EFL/ESL in the unorganized adult education sector. He is a founding member of the Global Supply Chains Study/Research Group, which helps organize conferences and facilitates workshops for logistics workers to “scaffold” each other to a deeper understanding of how work in their various sectors is part of the same production process and how their collective power could be leveraged to strengthen their struggles.
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