On MLK Jr. Day, SF city workers demand the firing of HR Director Micki Callahan for racial discrimination

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Phelicia Jones, center, speaking for SEIU Local 1021, condemns racism in City employment at a rally in front of City Hall on Nov. 27, 2018. – Photo: Kevin N. Hume, SF Examiner

Press conference: Saying ‘City HR director involved in racial discrimination must go,’ City workers will rally at the Marriott Marquis, 780 Mission St, San Francisco, on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, at 7:30-8:00 a.m.

by Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods

How do local politicians of San Francisco observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day? On Jan. 21, 2019, as they do every year, the who’s who of San Francisco politics will gather at the SF Labor Council Breakfast. They will make speeches on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., they will network and they will swear they believe in racial justice.

Then the event will conclude and they will go on their merry way, proceeding to do nothing to make a difference pertaining to racial injustices experienced by Black people in San Francisco. They will use this day not as a day to address racial injustices, but as a photo opp.

But what did Dr. King say? “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods demands that Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors take real action and fire Department of Human Resources Director Micki Callahan due to her documented involvement in systemic racial discrimination of Black city workers.

Leader of the group and SEIU 1021 steward Phelicia Jones said, “After this press conference, politicians of San Francisco will have breakfast in this hotel with the Labor Council and pay lip service to Martin Luther King Jr., as they do every year. Then they will walk away and do nothing for Black folks in San Francisco. When will justice for Black people actually matter to them?”

We call on the Board of Supervisors to recommend that Callahan be fired and we call on Mayor Breed to fire her. According to United Public Workers for Action, Callahan has cost San Francisco taxpayers over $70 million from payments for settlements to workers and lawyers, many of those settlements related to race.

According to SEIU 1021, which represents 14,000 city workers, “Black city workers receive disciplinary dismissals at a rate 2.5 times higher than their overall representation in the workforce” and “when looking at the highest paid classifications by race, the average Black worker makes $67,000, while the average white worker makes $150,000.” Incidents of Callahan’s personal involvement in ignoring racial discrimination cases have been documented in multiple city hearings.

“Black city workers receive disciplinary dismissals at a rate 2.5 times higher than their overall representation in the workforce” and “when looking at the highest paid classifications by race, the average Black worker makes $67,000, while the average white worker makes $150,000.”

Supervisor Sandra Fewer has recommended creating another city department to gather data and make recommendations. The City and County of San Francisco has studied Black folks for 54 years in three different reports. WDBCJ4MW asserts that what is needed is not more data but accountability: replacing the top city official who’s overseen racial discrimination among city workers.

San Francisco District Attorney candidate Chesa Boudin has signaled his support for us and will be joining our press conference, as will NAACP President Rev. Amos Brown and San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney, who has expressed his support for Black city workers and wonders how San Francisco can call itself a progressive city when there is not even equity for the workers in the City and County in San Francisco.

Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods advocates for justice for Mario Woods and other victims of police violence. As a Black-led group focused on issues affecting the Black community, we are taking the opportunity to pursue justice in the workplace for Black city workers, as part of our work of exposing racial disparities in San Francisco and working to correct them. To reach Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods, contact Phelicia Jones at mwjusticenow@gmail.com.

 

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