Thursday, January 31, 2013

S.F. Bike Messenger Union Drive, late 1990's

In the late 1990's, Disaster Amnesiac worked in the mail room of a firm that received documents constantly. It was through this position that I got to know many of San Francisco's myriad bike messengers. They were a much welcome relief to me whenever they sauntered into my work space, their frank, no-bullshit manner a respite from the button down corporate passive aggressive very much on display both at the firm at which I worked and, on a more general level, City-wide. It was, after all, the apex of the Dot Com Boom, a boom that will probably be judged as wasteful, if not more so, than any other financial bubble. The messengers were literally a street-level mirror to those working in more lucrative sections of the Financial District.
The three flyers reproduced here were handed to me by one of the messengers. Disaster Amnesiac actually attend the bar-b-q that is advertised!
I am not sure if they ever got their union up and running. It seems as if there are a lot less messengers wheeling their way around downtown S.F. these days. I guess the advent of advanced digital reproduction and communication rendered many of their services moot? That said, I still see a few flying past on their cool bikes; there is one guy that's been at it so long, he reminds me of Moses or something! And, hey, the bike messengers were given that ultimate cyberpunk imprimatur, seeing as that a messenger was the main protagonist of a William Gibson novel.
Anyway, a small piece of S.F. Labor History, preserved and presented here.

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