Flag-Lowering Tribute Costs LGBT Group $1,500

Union contract means flags at half-mast cost $1,500.

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    Lowering City Hall flags to half-mast on May 17 will cost $1,500 -- a bill sent to an LGBT group who wants the flags moved to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which the city officially recognizes.

    Tributes to fallen heroes don't come cheap. Thank the unions.

    A San Francisco LGBT group wishing to lower the flags at San Francisco City Hall on May 17 -- the international Day Against Homophobia -- was told that such a tribute comes with a $1,500 bill, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

    A deal with the city's unions require two "station engineers," paid at $90 an hour, to raise and lower flags and to be compensated for a minimum of four hours' time whenever the flags are put at half-mast, according to the newspaper. If the flag-raising is performed at night or on the weekends, it costs even more with overtime.

    Paying two engineers $90 an hour for two four-hour sessions -- one to raise the flags and one to lower them -- is $1,080 in labor costs, according to the newspaper. The source of the extra bill is unclear, the newspaper reported.

    A nonprofit group called Gays Without Borders is working to cut down the total cost with the city, according to the newspaper. The Board of Supervisors voted to officially recognize the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia last month.