Nonprofit workers shout down Board of Supervisors meeting, 11 detained

Photo by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Nearly 100 nonprofit workers and their allies, hungry for a raise, marched through the corridors of City Hall today and shouted down the Board of Supervisors at its weekly meeting. "Supervisors can't you see? Inequality is killing me!" the protesters shouted at the board. Protesters linked arms across the wooden barricade between the supervisors' seats and the audience, and 11 were detained for their act of civil disobedience. 

The nonprofit workers are taking aim at Mayor Ed Lee's proposed budget, which gives the workers a 1.5 percent cost of living funding increase they say is not enough to offset rising rents, healthcare costs, and other expenses in San Francisco. After doing the math, they say, for-profit contractors are getting as much as a 3 percent boost, which they're calling a double standard. 

Mostly, the workers are feeling exhausted and underpaid. Darien Lomeli, a counselor at Progress Foundation's Rypins House, helps mentally ill seniors connect with housing services and navigate exceedingly low incomes -- but now she says she's facing those same hurdles herself. Last year, she finally got a 1.9 percent raise, but had no raises at all for over six years.

"We can't survive on what we're paid," she said. Lomeli grew up in San Francisco but was priced out to Redwood City some time ago.

Raw video clips of the nonprofit workers' Board of Supervisors action today. Alysabeth Alexander of the SEIU is the first speaker, shortly before 11 protesters were cuffed (with plastic) and detained.

But it's not just about individual challenges, she said, low pay engenders high turnover in the nonprofit sector, which hurts those she helps. "The turnover rate," she said, "is skyrocketing."

The homeless seniors she works with need help from people they trust. Navigating services is also exceedingly difficult for trainees, and constantly training new workers is a drain on resources, she said.

Sup. David Campos told the Guardian a cost of living adjustment for nonprofit workers was on the table during budget negotiations, but was eventually dropped. Now he and Sups. Eric Mar and Norman Yee are working on a solution.

"It's just a conversation at this point," Nick Pagoulatos, an aide to Mar, told the Guardian. More research needs to be done to find the dollars in the budget that could go towards the funding increases, which the SEIU estimates would cost somewhere near $6.8 million annually. "The timing of when or if [an increase] could move forward is up in the air," Pagoulatos said.

Cost of living is just the latest in a series of fiscal hits the nonprofit sector has taken to the chin in San Francisco of late. The tech sector boom downtown and in South of Market have raised the rents on many surrounding nonprofits, which some have said led to the closure of over 1,000 nonprofit agencies in San Francisco since 2011. Mayor Lee and the board provided $4.5 million in the 2014-15 budget to offset rent increases for nonprofits in the city.


SF property owners only receive a 1% increase on rents this year. Is there a protest scheduled for that?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

No and they will learn to be hapPY with their 1% or they will sell out to corporate interests

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 10:47 pm

...and when an apt. goes vacant they can reset the rent at any level they wish. And they can pass through "capital improvements" to tenants, which liberally allows for painting (isn't that really maintenance?) RC only applies to multi-unit buildings built before 1978.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 11:53 am

Quit whining, rich, greedy landlords.

Posted by Quit wining, rich landlords. on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

Quit whining, rich, greedy landlords.

Posted by Grinch. on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

Quit whining, rich greedy landlords.

Posted by Grinch. on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

Yes, quit whining. Just convert your property to TIC. Problem solved.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 4:53 pm

When you're does not have an incentive to make a profit, you should expect a shitty income. Thems the breaks libs.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

Someone else can pay the bill!!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 8:41 pm


Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 9:00 pm


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Ol' Gerard must be working his paralegals to death--how else would he have time to spam the interwebz all day and night?

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Posted by on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 11:33 pm

What a shame to see such divisiveness at the Board chambers. Can't we all just work for tech companies and get along?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 9:31 pm

Yes, bow down to our new overlords people!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 6:16 am

waddle off his perch and join his oppressed brethren asking for a raise. Has the world gone mad? Why does Campos hate our oppressed brothers and sisters?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 10:17 pm

He doesn't hate them...ANyone with half a brain knows that. ANyone that isn't blind to how much Campos has done to help others be hapPY that is...

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 10:44 pm

The work these people do should be performed by the public, not private, sector.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 08, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

Easier to cut these people if they work for non-profits.

It's the pension and healthcare costs that kill us, so we need to limit who gets that deal.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 6:47 am

""We can't survive on what we're paid," she said. Lomeli grew up in San Francisco but was priced out to Redwood City some time ago."

The horror. The horror.

Having to live in Redwood City is a crime against humanity!

After all, if you grew up in San Francisco, that should give you a perpetual right to live in San Francisco indefinitely!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 5:31 am

Any CCDC amongst the non profit workers?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 10:05 am

20 Billion! and climbing (cited by head of retirement system at this mornings SFBOS committee hearing)....there is not going to be much left for the lowest wage workers soon, no matter how much good work is being done. Campos and Co are pushing the minimum wage increase as the best hope for the lowest wage non profit workers.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 10, 2014 @ 11:43 am

Isn't it the nonprofit employers who these people should be protesting, and then the employers making the case to the City for better contracts that reflect their staffing costs?

It is backasswards for th employees to protest to the City.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 10, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

And since they do not generate any revenues, then they must live within the means that the taxpayers have voted to give them.

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