“We’re here, we’re engineers, get used to it!” Local 21 Joins San Francisco Science March

IFPTE Local 21 endorsed and marched in the San Francisco Science March, and fittingly so. Representing over 10,000 public employees in the Bay Area, with professions ranging from civil engineers to chemists, Local 21 members use science every day to do their work on behalf of the public.

Publicly employed professionals are frequently subject to whims of politicians and outside interest groups.

Our union is our defense against pressures to compromise our professional judgment and ethical codes for engineering, scientific, and other professional work.

Below is part of the March for Science’s mission statement:

“Science protects the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children, the foundation of our economy and jobs, and the future we all want to live in and preserve for coming generations.

“We speak up now because all of these values are currently at risk. When science is threatened, so is the society that scientists uphold and protect.”

Faced with the new White House administration’s disregard for science, coupled with its agenda to delete data on climate change and make deep cuts to the  EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), NPS (National Park Services), NIH (National Intitutes of Health), and DOE (Department of Energy), scientists and environmentalists came together to make it clear to the new administration that denying climate change and slashing funding for scientific research would not be tolerated.

A full delegation of Local 21 members marched in San Francisco with our sister unions, ESC (Engineers and Scientists of California) IFPTE Local 20, and IFPTE Local 30 (NASA Ames Research Center), on April 22. There was also a Local 21 contingent in San Jose.

In preparation for the April 22 March for Science, members went to a sign-making pizza party hosted by Local 21. ESC Local 20 members joined in the fun. Armed with markers, foam board, and pizza, members went to work writing messages like “What do we want? Evidence-based science! When do we want it? After peer review!” and “Do you trust ‘alternative facts’ to engineer your bridges, water systems, dams, and buildings?”

There were over 80 marchers in the Local 21 contingent. There was a lot of chanting and science puns. Local 21 Communications Specialist Jennifer Li, Administrative Assistant Kristan Karinen, and Organizer Evan McLaughlin coordinated the Local 21 contingent of the San Francisco March for Science, organizing the sign-making party, creating and ordering limited edition Local 21 x March for Science T-shirts, and creating a new Current Resistance banner for the march.

Local 21 led the crowd to chant, “We’re gonna beat, back, alternative facts! We’re gonna beat beat back, alternative facts!” and “We’re scientists, we’re loud, we’re organized, and we’re proud!”

“We are charged with protecting the public, that is our unifying mission,” said Local 21 member Brian Reyes. “Our values are to advocate for clean water and air, protection against toxins in the environment, and so on. It’s my opinion that what the administration is doing is for special interests, and not for the people we are charged to serve.”

About 50,000 marched in San Francisco, with the crowd moving down Market Street from Justin Herman Plaza down to the Civic Center.

“Science is not a partisan issue,” said Executive Director Bob Muscat, “As a union of professionals, we use science in much of our work. Our interests are the public’s interest – the public has a stake in well-run government. Our members hold the expertise to make sure that our buildings and dams are structurally sound, and our food, water, and air are safe. Local 21 members protect the public every day while on the job. Now more than ever, we need to stay strong to protect worker’s rights and the public.”

To view the photos of Local 21 at the Science March, check our Facebook album here!