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San Francisco Veterinary Specialists Call for Support in Negotiation Fight

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Less than a week after the country celebrated Labor Day, San Francisco Veterinary Specialists will be out on the street in a demonstration of what fighting for labor rights really looks like.

According to an SFVS press release, the group of veterinary specialists:

  • Remain in solidarity in their conviction that their profession deserves a living wage
  • Are resolute that their right to collectively negotiate will not be pushed aside
  • Are unwavering in their belief that patient safety should not fall by the wayside under corporate rule

The group has been in negotiations with VCA-MARS for over a year. VCA, a company managing a nationwide network of veterinary facilities and staff formerly Veterinary Centers of America, was bought out by Mars, Inc. (yes, the candy bar folks) for $9.1 billion in 2017. In other words, VCA-MARS is a well-funded, well-resourced machine that SFVS and the supporting ILWU claim has been acting in bad throughout the negotiations process. They allege the parent company has executed a background campaign to fight the workers’ right to unionize by surveilling their protected activities and have acted with hostility in response, shifting work and management around in a chess game of retribution. Although they made history in their union’s formation at the end of 2018, the battle since has been relentless.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors condemned VCA-MARS actions in resolution and the company will have to testify to the federal government regarding the bargaining issues. But in the meantime, SFVS fights on for the dignity of being treated and payed fairly as valuable employees.

The different sides are due to hit the bargaining table again Thursday and ask supporters to come out to 600 Alabama Street at 8 a.m. in a show of solidarity.

Workers’ rights are not guaranteed. We are faced daily with new challenges to protections many of us take for granted. Whether it is rideshare drivers pushing for employee benefits or commercial truck drivers misclassified as commercial truck drivers — which also negatively impacts climate change goals, by the way — or the similar, recently lost fight for a union at Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital, time and time again workers are being forced to stand their ground for basic rights. Complacency is a dangerous thing for labor rights in a rampant capitalist society.

You may or may not agree with each group and their demands but just remember that unions were fought for and formed because people without collective power were oppressed and abused. We are not immune to those risks today and it is important that we remember that what we allow to be done to others can easily be done us.

Remember Labor Day every day.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.