Union Representing Public Works Employees Calls On Mayor, Supes To Address Bathroom Issue

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)

Union leaders representing more than 350 San Francisco Public Works employees are calling on Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors to require the city to provide dedicated restrooms for its workers.

Because DPW workers are tasked with cleaning the city’s streets and often handle biohazards like garbage, urine and feces, union officials said the need for clean bathrooms and handwashing facilities has become urgent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Back in July, dozens of Public Works employees staged a rally at the department’s Operation Yard, calling for bathrooms and handwashing facilities on the job, alleging the department barred workers from using the operation yard during their lunch breaks.

Although the workers were encouraged by DPW to use the public Pit-Stop toilets, the Laborers’ International Union of North Americas, Local 261 says its workers feel unsafe using those facilities and sharing them with homeless people who, according to union officials, may liken them to police.



But DPW officials said, including the Pit-Stop toilets, workers had a total of 50 facilities throughout the city to choose from. The department also said it provided the workers with hand sanitizer, as well as water and soap to clean up on the job.


Union officials, however, said that’s still not enough.

“How can the city not provide clean, safe, restroom and handwashing facilities? It is inhumane for San Francisco to treat its own employees and citizens this way,” union spokeswoman Theresa Foglio-Ramirez said in a statement Wednesday. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses were open, these employees could more easily find a clean bathroom facility at a restaurant, business, gas station or shop. That is no longer case — and may not be the case for a longtime to come.”


Union leaders allege the workers are being retaliated against because of whistleblowing that led to the federal criminal charges for former DPW Director Mohammed Nuru, who is currently facing jail time over an alleged scheme to bribe a San Francisco International Airport commissioner.

“We believe that this denial of clean, safe bathroom and handwashing facilities is not merely an oversight or penny pinching by public works, but instead is direct retaliation for the Union’s early complaints about corrupt practices in the public works department,” Foglio-Ramirez said. “We were among the first to blow the whistle on now disgraced department head Mohammed Nuru. Our early warnings about abuses and illegal activities played a role in the Department of Justice investigation of illegal City Hall contracts and hiring practices. Instead of being rewarded for bring corruption to light, we are being punished by public works.”


Although union officials said they filed a grievance with the city’s Human Resources Department seven months ago over the bathroom issue, the union said its concerns have gone unheard.

In a letter sent to Breed and the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, union officials asked for immediate action, saying “We demand humane treatment of these employees — our members — who are performing some of the most

Read more

Party-goers found hiding in bathroom as police issue fines for Holyland disorder

Police have issued eight fines and ten community resolution notices after student parties in the Holyland area of south Belfast.

t’s after they responded to a number of parties at houses in the area in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Police said they found a number of people hiding in a small bathroom to avoid detection when they visited their address.

The fixed penalty notices issued by police carry a £60 fine.

Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said: “Some young people who have moved to the area to pursue their studies, and others visiting the area are not listening to our repeated warnings.

“Alongside the universities and colleges, we have issued multiple appeals for young people to follow the latest health and safety advice and highlighted the importance of being good neighbours.

“Last night, we gave advice and guidance at a number of residential properties. However, 18 of those people we spoke with failed to understand the seriousness of the situation. At one address, we discovered a group of people hiding in a small bathroom. Some received community resolution notices, while the behaviour of others resulted in fixed penalty notices. This follows a series of arrests for a range of offences in the area over recent days.

“Where appropriate, we now will liaise with the universities and colleges who will consider their own sanctions against any students involved.”

Police said all students must follow health and safety advice regarding houses of multiple occupancy provided by universities and emphasised that only six people from a maximum of two different households can gather indoors in a private dwelling.

“Students living off campus must also be mindful of the importance of building good relationships with local residents. They must be respectful of their neighbours who do not want to kept awake all night with parties and do not want to have their property damaged.

“Unfortunately residents have been through it all before. What might seem like fun at the time, can often cause others a great deal of upset and distress,” said Chief Inspector Kirkpatrick.

“We have dedicated substantial resources to policing this area throughout the coming weeks and will robustly address any antisocial behaviour and criminal offences.”

Belfast Telegraph

Source Article

Read more