About Us

Contact Us


Western Addition Social Security Office Wrap-up

PRESS RELEASE: Social Security Office Saved

By Howard Egerman

Unions fight for jobs and maintaining facilities. AFGE is no exception to this rule.

When employees of the Social Security Administration's Western Addition facility were notified in February that their office at 1405 Fillmore Street in San Francisco would be closed on April 30, with employees and the public being forced to go to downtown San Francisco, AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) (AFL-CIO) Local 3172 sprang into action.

Local President Cheryl Knapp and Vice President Donna B. Thomas announced their commitment to work with employees to keep the office open. Regional Council l47 President Katrina Lopez and Executive Vice President Sylvia Norman also pledged their support.

Howard Egerman, a Union Rep from East Oakland who had worked with employees in his office to stop its closure, was asked to work with employees to stop the closure. Every employee in the office signed a petition to fight the office closure.

Regional Council President Lopez designed a letter to be signed by members of the community. Regional Vice President Norman contacted churches and senior citizen groups in the community. Local President Knapp and Vice President Thomas lent local resources to support the effort.

Rep Egerman contacted Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco who, after receiving more than 200 calls from members of the public and community groups, wrote Region 9 SSA Commissioner Pete Spencer about the closure, asking him for a meeting on the issue. The letter pointed out that the office had never been told that there were plans to close the office in April 2005. Egerman also contacted Senator Barbara Boxer's office, which wrote a letter and issued a press release.

Local officials were contacted, including San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced a resolution at the Board's March 15 meeting calling on the agency to rescind its decision to close the office. This resolution was adopted unanimously. Assemblyman Leland Yee of San Francisco, the Speaker Pro Tem of the California Assembly, lent his support to the effort.

Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to RC Spencer as well, noting that the Western Addition office served a diverse population of people who spoke varied languages as well as people with mobility problems. San Francisco Central Labor Council Head Tim Paulson announced Local 3172's effort to save the office at a rally sponsored by the California Federation of Labor and noted that the crowd would be leafleted for support. Members of the Gray Panthers and Senior Action Network who attended the rally were asked for their support.

"These citizens, who are among the most disadvantaged and have limited mobility, would be forced to endure the added burden of increased travel and money for government services only available in already overcrowded field offices," wrote San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who also opposed the effort.

Members of the senior and disabilities communities within the Western Addition spoke to the press about the effort as well.

On April 7, 2005 Regional Commissioner Pete Spencer called Congresswoman Pelosi's office to say that the decision to close the office on April 30, 2005 was rescinded.

"We applaud this decision," said AFGE Rep Howard Egerman. "AFGE fights for the employees it is honored to represent and members of the public we are all honored to serve. We strongly believe that community-based field offices in places like San Francisco's Western Addition enable each of us to give the type of quality public service the public needs and wants."

AFGE thanks San Francisco Leadership for keeping Western Addition SSA Office open

AFGE Local 3172 Union Rep Howard Egerman today expressed gratitude to the political community and the senior and disabled citizen community of San Francisco for working with his union to reverse the decision to close the San Francisco Western Addition office located at 1405 Fillmore Street, San Francisco.

"I am grateful for the support our Local received from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Leland Yee, Mayor Gavin Newsom, and a resolution from the Board of Supervisors authored by Ross Mirkarimi, as well as countless members of the clergy and community organizations and Tim Paulson of the San Francisco Labor Council.

"The members we represent are honored to serve the public. We are so delighted that our sisters and brothers in the Western Addition office will be able to continue to serve the public there. Social Security employees are dedicated to give everyone the best possible public service.

Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein prevent closure of Western Addition Social Security Office

San Francisco. At the urging of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced it was reversing its decision to close its office in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood.

"I thank Regional Commissioner Peter Spencer for reversing the Social Security Administration's decision to close the Western Addition office, as well as Senators Boxer and Feinstein for joining me in opposing the closure," Pelosi said. "Keeping this Social Security Administration office open will ensure that elderly and disabled residents in the Western Addition, Inner Richmond, Japantown, and Pacific Heights can continue to receive critical services and information about their Social Security benefits in a setting that is convenient, safe, and familiar."

Pelosi wrote SAA Regional Commissioner Peter D. Spencer on March 11, 2005 to protest the closure, convey the depth of community opposition to the proposed closure of the Western Addition office, and ask for a detailed explanation of the reasons for the closure. On April 1, 2005, Pelosi's office met with Mr. Spencer to reiterate her opposition to the closure.

"San Franciscans must be able to obtain the Social Security benefits they have earned," Pelosi said. "The strong public opposition to the president's privatization plan has made clear that Social Security is critical to millions of Americans."