Tenderloin Housing Clinic workers walk off job, demand living wage

Some 300 workers from the Tenderloin Housing Clinic are on strike today, demanding an increase in wages.

“No contract, no peace,” the crowd shouted outside the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Services offices along Turk Street this morning. After eight months of contract negotiations, many said they felt “pushed” to strike because of a lack of clarity around pay raises.

The Tenderloin Housing Clinic is a property management nonprofit that maintains around 2,000 affordable units throughout 24 projects in the city, mainly for formerly homeless tenants. That includes five in the Mission, including San Francisco’s largest SRO hotel, the Mission Hotel. The nonprofit received over $33 million in city funding last fiscal year to provide housing for some of the city’s hardest-up denizens, and to provide services such as case management.

Currently, job listings on the clinic’s website put the hourly pay for desk clerks and janitors at $17.34 (around $36,067 annually) and $20.92 for (around $43,514 annually) case workers. The minimum wage in San Francisco is $16.99 (around $33,980 annually).

Andria Blackmon, a case worker for the nonprofit, said that she wanted a return to the wages seen from July 2020 to March 2021, when every employee got an extra $5 per hour in Covid hazard pay. Blackmon, who has had four supervisors during her two-and-a-half years in the job, said that an increase would help ensure good services for tenants, improve workers’ quality of life, and reduce turnover.

“We’re really struggling. You know, we’re borrowing money from each other, we’re giving each other rides,” said Blackmon. “We just seem to always end up short.”

Andria Blackmon at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic rally. Photo by Will Jarrett.

Emmanuel White, a desk clerk, said that wages were currently too low considering how hard it is to deal with problematic tenants and given the qualifications workers brought to their roles.

“You’ve got a case manager making $20 an hour – with a degree – but you’ve got people at McDonald’s making maybe $18 an hour with no degree,” said White. “Yeah, that just doesn’t seem right.”

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