We the messengers of the Bay Area, known as the San Francisco Bike Messenger Association, or SFBMA hereby state our mission; to promote unity and solidarity within the messenger community and to raise the status of our profession.
In support of our mission, the San Francisco Bike Messenger Association proposes the following courses of action be taken:
• to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with organizations that share our interests
• to be a national and international liaison
• to greet new and returning messengers
• to give mutual aid and support whenever possible to our fellow messengers (including the Broken Bones Fund when necessary)
• to hold events such as bike races, parties, art shows, and any other activities that promote camaraderie within the cycling community
• to stand up for our worker’s rights
The San Francisco Bike Messenger Association was created in the winter of 1990-91, the brainchild of messengers including Parté King, Nosmo King, Markus Cook, and Joe Corio. They wanted an organization in which messengers could pool their talents to work for the betterment of the entire SF messenger community.
Initially anyone who worked in the SF messenger industry (bike/scooter/car/walking/motorcycle messengers, ordertakers, dispatchers, etc.) was automatically a member of the SFBMA.
To help out couriers injured on the job or whom had legal problems, the SFBMA held the “Hard-Luck Benefit Series” of concerts to raise money. One of the first SFBMA annual events that continues to this day, is Joe Corio’s Groundhog Day “49-Mile Ride.” While not the first bike messenger association (New York messengers formed the Indepedent Courier Association in the 1980s), the SFBMA has been influencial and given the world Messenger Appreciation Day, October 9th (10-9), when Parté and Nosmo King convinced Mayor Art Agnos to declare this a SF holiday.
In 1996, SF hosted the Cycle Messenger World Championships, three days of racing with 600 participants from throughout the world. It was a colossal group effort, led by SFBMA president Megan Redington but including the efforts of hundreds of volunteers. A CD compilation of SF bike messenger bands was produced for the event: “Pothole” and a booklet of practical tips for messengers was published. CMWC opened many SF messengers to the worldwide messenger community for the first time.
Emboldened by the success of CMWC and also the success of the Exotic Dancers Alliance in organizing under the SEIU, Wendy Fallin, Limor Geisler, and America Meredith called together the first meeting to actively seek union organization of the Bay Area urgent delivery industry. Former CMWC organizers Howard Williams, Bok Choy Mathewson, and Joel Metz helped transform the SFBMA into a labor-advocacy group, with the help of Lance Schroeder, Eric Scudder, and countless others. The SFBMA formed an alliance with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 6 and our community devoted years to transforming the local industry. Several multinational corporations who undercut locally owned businesses were driven out of the SF messenger industry: Fidelity National Title, DMS, and Express Legal Services. Messengers won class-action lawsuits against messenger companies for wage and overtime violations. Ultimately, Speedway and Professional Messenger employees organized under the ILWU Local 6. In the ensuing years, more messengers took the reins of the SFBMA, including Rak Affonso, Carey Dall, Bernie Corace, Jason Whitehead, and Damon Votour, who served as SFBMA President longer than any other individual. They reached out to local politicians and established community ties that the SFBMA still honors today. One effort that continues is to get messenger companies to comply with laws regarding employee/independent contractor determination.
In past years, the SFBMA has had to redefine itself, as the ILWU union drive has ended, although the ILWU still provides the SFBMA with office and meeting space. Currently, SFBMA members are writing a new mission statement that details how the SFBMA works toward to foster local messenger community, to improve our working conditions, and to work in solidarity with like-minded organizations. Editor Sammy Shiraco publishes the SFBMA’s monthly newsletter, Cognition. The organization sponsors a host of annual events, including the Russian River Ride, the Quake City Rumble alleycat race, and 10-9 Messenger Appreciation Day Celebrations.
Taken from http://www.ahalenia.com/sfbma/