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SF Supes Extend Covid-19 Worker, Renter Protections

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Guest post by Wesley Wells

We’re sitting through the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meetings and breaking them down for you so you don’t have to! Here’s the mini minutes for the Board of Supervisors held Tuesday, August 25, 2020. Full minutes are available right here. Video and transcript are available right here.

Commemorating the 19th Amendment

The meeting started with speeches from the female members of the board commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s constitutional right to vote. Whole speeches are available here.

Existing Covid-19 protections extended

Three emergency ordinances were extended by 60 days to continue worker protection during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  1. Right to reemployment: Any San Francisco business that employs more than 100 people has to offer reemployment to eligible employees laid off due to Covid-19. Full text is available here.
  2. Health and scheduling protections: Stores, restaurants and on-demand delivery services must continue to provide or reimburse for personal protective equipment, must not retaliate against employees using sick leave and are required to facilitate social distancing. Full text here.
  3. No rent increases: Suspends a landlord’s right to raise rent on existing tenants. Full text here.

Hastings lawsuit settled

The Board of Supervisors officially passed the settlement with UC Hastings for $0. Some supervisors expressed concern that other organizations would use the precedent to sue the City into action on homelessness issues. However, after supervisors emerged from a closed session with the City Attorney, they seemed to acknowledge the settlement as an important legal strategy. The final vote passed with four in dissent. 

View of San Francisco, Calif. looking west from the 24th floor of U.C. Hastings. (Photo by Adam Engelhart)

The settlement includes stipulations that any existing tent encampments around the college will be removed and the City will force people away from the area if they refuse opportunities to relocate to hotels. The Chancellor of UC Hastings answered questions from the board about why the institution felt the suit was necessary. That discussion can be accessed in this video, beginning at the 2:17:15 timestamp.

Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Shamann Walton, Dean Preston and Aaron Peskin voted against the settlement.

Make Billionaires Pay Act

This action will not impact San Francisco residents unless it passes through both chambers of the U.S. Congress, which is unlikely given Republican control of the Senate. Still, supervisors declared support of the “Make Billionaires Pay Act” introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders, Ed Markley and Kirsten Gillibrand.

The legislation seeks to impose a 60 percent tax on “wealth increases of billionaires during this pandemic in order to pay for all out-of-pocket medical expenses for every person in America for a year.” A press release with further details about the bill is provided on Bernie Sanders’ website.

Urging SF Giants to support ballpark workers

This resolution doesn’t have legal teeth but will be sent to Charles Johnson, the owner of the Giants, urging him to support Oracle ballpark workers struggling during the pandemic. Members of the board have been out on frontlines with ballpark workers in their protests over loss of jobs and minimal support. Concessions workers, who are still unable resume operations, have been hit especially hard. After some pressure, the Giants provided concessions workers with what amounted to $500 each, according to the Unite Here Local 2 union.

Supervisor Matt Haney attends a protest in support of Oracle ballpark workers on Aug. 14, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Matt Haney)

ROLL CALL FOR INTRODUCTIONS

This is when the supervisors give an oral introduction of items they will be bringing to committees in the coming days/weeks.

Supervisor Safai will introduce legislation that urges the San Francisco Department of Public Health to ensure the city’s hospitals do not reduce nurse-patient ratios.

Supervisor Haney will introduce legislation that would ensure revenue generated by the Overpaid Executive Tax, if it passes in November, would be used to hire essential healthcare workers at SF General Hospital to address staffing shortages. 

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