It was a full house at Brisbane City Hall's Community Meeting Room this morning. Most of those in attendence were workers from VWR, upset over the fact that they would be losing their jobs when VWR closes its distribution facility in Brisbane and opens a brand-new one in Visalia, CA. The time of when this actually happens is unknown, since management at VWR has been unresponsive to City officials up to this point. Voice messages and e-mails have been sent, but have gone unreturned. Thus, a hearing was held, called for by Congresswoman Jackie Speier and State Treasurer Bill Lockyer. Joining them were Freddy Beaman of the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce, Dan Lieberman of Senator Leland Yee's Office, Councilman Clarke Conway, Brian Perkins of Congresswoman Speier's office, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, and Shelley Kessler of the San Mateo County Labor Council.
In his opening comments, Councilmember Conway noted how VWR leaving will "decimate our services". Brisbane City Manager Clay Holstine, expanded on this notion, stating how the City will be down 18.5% in General Fund revenues - equivalent to approximately $2.1 millon dollars. Finance Director Stuart Schillinger was also on-hand to answer questions of the panel.
John Thomas, who works in the Receiving Dept. at VWR and will be soon losing his job, asked the question, "How do they [VWR] think we're going to get out of this recession?" Three other employees from VWR also called for the Congresswoman's support, as they have worked hard for the company for many years, and feel VWR's response by not allowing them to re-locate in an effort to keep their jobs is an injustice. Congresswoman Speier called it "unconscionable."
State Treasurer Lockyer and Congresswoman Speier agreed to send a letter to Governor Brown, requesting corporations not be allowed to use California Taxpayer money and Tax Credits to take jobs from one City in California and move them to another.
We thank Congresswoman Speier and Treasurer Lockyer for their leadership and calling this morning's hearing. In the next few days, we will have a copy of the hearing available on the City's website for you to view. You can also tune in to the evening news tonight at 6pm, as every major news station was present.