March 3, 2010, 9:12 am
City Pension Vote Lays Groundwork for Labor Battles
By GERRY SHIH
Mr. Elsbernd has been fighting labor unions in recent months in the name of fiscal prudence. For that, he has won widespread support, from the former mayor, Willie Brown, and even from his onetime political nemesis, the public defender Jeff Adachi . But if Tuesday signaled that labor in this labor town remains hardly a pushover, then recent events suggest he could soon confront even stiffer opposition.
The Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents some 15,000 city workers, voted overwhelmingly over the weekend to elect new leadership. Sin Yee Poon, a human services agency worker who won the presidency, will enter office after three years of bitter infighting. Some members complained that the former president appointed by the international, Damita Davis-Howard, was transferring control of the union from local members to the top officials in Washington.
The union was hamstrung by disorganization during that period.