City workers, members of SIEU Local 1021, began filing in around 4 p.m. They began their demonstration around 6 p.m. and continued until they were asked to leave. They were hoping to have hundreds of protesters inside the rotunda.
Union workers are negotiating a new contract and they want city leaders to know they are serious about their demands. They want businesses to pay more payroll taxes which they say could generate up to $40 million. They say that extra money could prevent cuts to their benefits.
Organizers of the demonstration say they were inspired by protests that took place at the Wisconsin state capitol in February of 2011, when state workers took over the capitol building to protest proposals that, in part, sought to diminish their bargaining power. That takeover lasted for days.
"We plan to stay until they kick us out. That could be until 8:00. It could be until tomorrow morning when they open up the doors and they still find city workers out there trying to get this important message heard," SEIU union official Carlos Rivera said. Union leaders say people brought sleeping bags and are prepared to stay overnight. At some point this evening, they plan to go to Room 200, the mayor's office, to deliver a letter urging for his support.
Hundreds of city workers vow to return after storming San Francisco's City Hall Monday to voice their contract demands.
No one from the mayor's office would comment on tonight's demonstration.