THC joins tenants, workers, and other local organizations to protest the substandard living and working conditions inside Kaussen’s properties.
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German Landlord’s Policies Protested
By Howard Taylor Jr.
Examiner Staff Writer
A coalition of Tenderloin residents and maintenance workers were to stage a noon demonstration today outside the Geary Street offices of German real estate tycoon Guenther Kaussen.
Demanding lower rents, immediate repairs and union representation for about 55 workers at Kaussen’s 20 apartment buildings, the protesters are sponsored by Service Employees Union Local 14, the North of Market Planning Coalition and the Tenderloin Housing Clinic.
“We’ll be talking about the fact that Kaussen’s properties are in substandard conditions, and aware of that, he has failed to bring them up to code,” said Claire Iandoli, housing coordinator for the Planning Coalition.
“We’ll be calling for The City to appoint a receiver that would force Kaussen to bring the buildings up to code, and if he failed, allow a non-profit (agency) to step in and operate the buildings.”
Housing inspectors announced June 22 that they would sue Kaussen unless he made major safety improvements in four Tenderloin buildings.
Service Employees’ spokesman Jack Allen said Local 14’s participation in the protest was an attempt to force Kaussen to recognize the union as the legitimate representative of 55 janitors, handymen, plumbers, electricians and carpenters who work in his buildings.
Allen said the union had unsuccessfully sought to negotiate a labor contract with Kaussen since March.
“We’re a little impatient,” he said. “It’s been 3 ½ months (since 43 workers voted to join the union). There have been no negotiations, no recognition of the union, no bargaining and no let-up in bad conditions for the tenants.”
Allen said his 2,000-member local seeks an agreement with Kaussen that would give his service workers a standard industry contract, with job security, a seniority clause, a grievance procedure, health and welfare and pension plans. He said all of the maintenance workers who voted for union representation were fired in March and again in May, when the organizing effort intensified.
“Most of the apartment buildings in San Francisco are union,” Allen said. “We don’t expect any more than that. Just the same.”
Pictured: Jack Allen of the North of Market Planning coalition carried a sign and chanted yesterday outside the offices of German real estate baron Guenther Kaussen. Allen’s group has joined with the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and the Service Employees Union Local 14 in demanding lower rents, immediate repairs, and union representation for about 55 workers. Another demonstration is scheduled for noon today.