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Union boss punched in the face after annoying siren deployed during protest

Union picketers line up outside a government office building.
Unionized janitors picket outside offices of federal agencies at 630 Sansome St. in San Francisco on Monday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A fight broke out on a picket line last week in front of a downtown federal office building when striking custodians accused a woman of punching a union leader.

The altercation happened in front of a federal government office building at 630 Sansome St., where janitors employed there have been on strike since last week. The custodians, who are members of Service Employees International Union Local 87, said the skirmish took place around 7 p.m. on Wednesday after the woman, an employee who works in the building, came out and confronted the striking janitors for playing a loud siren from a bullhorn.

Janitors with Service Employees International Union Local 87 play a loud siren from a bullhorn while picketing in front of 630 Sansome St. This reporter measured the siren’s volume from 50 feet away at 92 decibels. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Thirteen janitors are participating in the strike, which began Wednesday, and have been picketing in front of the building from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every weekday since, according to the union. 

The striking custodians say the company responsible for paying them, Acepex Management Corporation, has only paid them five days’ worth of wages since Feb. 10 and owes them thousands of dollars in back pay, according to SEIU Local 87 President Olga Miranda, the union leader who was involved in Wednesday's confrontation.

A union rep shared a video he said was taken of the scuffle by a union member. It shows Miranda being punched in the face by a woman on that day and time.

Miranda said the 13 janitors are owed roughly $85,000 in back pay, and the strike will continue until the janitors receive their money.

Local 87 union representative Wing Luk said they used the sirens, as well as leading chants and playing drums, since the strike began as a tactic to pressure the company. 

A man stands on the sidewalk.
Janitor's union rep Wing Luk said a woman punched the union's president during an altercation Wednesday after striking workers played a loud siren while picketing outside offices of federal agencies at 630 Sansome St. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

When The Standard visited Monday, the siren was measured at a peak volume of 92 decibels from across the street.

Luk said the striking janitors have used the sirens less after receiving complaints from neighbors.

A woman who said she lives two blocks away and wanted to remain anonymous, emailed The Standard Monday saying the siren played for four hours straight early Friday, which Luk confirmed.

Luk said he and his fellow union members plan to keep using the siren.

“We try not to play it that much. We’re just trying to send a message to the building telling them they have to pay us,” he said.

Acepex Management Corporation and the U.S. General Services Agency, which owns the building at 630 Sansome St., were contacted for comment.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at