Juan Hernandez stands against a wall.

Cleaning During COVID-19: How the Pandemic Affected Janitorial Work

Janitors have been taking to the streets in San Francisco for weeks to advocate for better working conditions during the pandemic, even going on a three-day strike in mid-March.

Juan Hernandez, a janitor with decades of experience who works at a 42-story office building, joined “Civic” to give a sense of the day-to-day reality of this work during the pandemic.

Alfredo Banuelos. Courtesy photo.

Frontline Dispatch: SF Paramedic Reflects on Pandemic

Before coronavirus cases were confirmed in San Francisco, paramedic Alfredo Banuelos and his colleagues were watching case numbers in other cities, still at a distance. Then he got his first patient. When the virus arrived in San Francisco and the city locked down and everything changed, procedures on the ambulance changed too. He reflects on how the pandemic unfolded for emergency medical responders. “I remember having our morning roundups, and having our supervisors say, ‘OK, we’re still fine you guys.’ But then you get closer: OK, now it’s in the state of Washington.

Gig Worker Classification Worsens Inequities During Pandemic, Organizer Says

Drivers for apps like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have said that being classified as independent contractors while working during a pandemic means they face the impossible choice between paying their bills and managing their exposure risk. Cherri Murphy, a lead organizer for Gig Workers Rising, spoke with “Civic” about drivers’ circumstances.


Yes, Mail-Order Boxes Are a Pain for Sanitation Workers

Some customers had their boxes broken down and neatly bundled, which Recology recycling driver Gareth Willey said helps, Willey but too often, he would open a door to a basement and find the boxes piled high, and would have to figure out a way to get all the material out onto the street and into the truck.

Grocery store workers are among San Franciscans now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccinations and Hazard Pay Remain Concerns of Grocery Store Union

Grocery store workers are the latest to be eligible for vaccination. As part of our “Essential Worker” series we spoke with Jim Araby, director of strategic campaigns for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 about how they are trying to get their 28,000 members vaccinated and why they are fighting for hazard pay during the remaining days of the pandemic.

‘Deluged’ With Calls From Jobless Constituents, Chiu Pushes EDD Reform

Nine California legislators have proposed a slate of reform bills that would try to address some of the biggest obstacles to getting unemployment benefits to those who are eligible for them. Among them is Assemblyman David Chiu, who represents California’s 17th district, which covers much of the eastern part of San Francisco, and discussed the proposals with “Civic.”

At a July 2020 car caravan and protest, ride hail drivers displayed a banner against Proposition 22 in front of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s home in San Francisco.

Ballot Measure’s Model of Labor Law Has Potential to Spread, Professor Says

Last year’s Proposition 22 allowed companies that dispatch app-based workers to continue considering them independent contractors, while adding some limited worker benefits. Veena Dubal, a professor of law at UC Hastings who conducts ethnographic and legal research on the gig economy, relays workers’ experiences and examines how it might lay the groundwork for other industries to shift toward gig work on “Civic.”