Following a closed session meeting of Oakland City Council to discuss contract negotiations, City of Oakland leaders and Mayor Schaaf have made no significant movement to advance contract talks. Over 3,000 City workers will continue their respective unfair labor practice strike and sympathy strike on Thursday, December 7. City workers are waiting for Mayor Libby Schaaf and City Councilmembers to make a real offer to bring the parties back to the table.
Rob Szykowny, Chief Negotiator for SEIU Local 1021, expressed workers’ disappointment and growing frustration as the City continues not to make substantive offers: “The City continues to stall, consistent with its bad faith bargaining to date. The City refuses to engage with the Union’s proposals on poor working conditions, temporary workers, or illegal dumping. City workers want to get back to work, but the City has not accepted the Union’s reasonable offers to do that.”
The City’s unfair labor practices have plagued bargaining. Meanwhile, the City is failing to address understaffed departments, vacancy and retention problems, health and safety issues for the community caused by a shortage of illegal dumping crews and mandatory overtime for emergency dispatchers, and an increasing reliance on temporary part time employees to service the growing city.
SEIU Local 1021 and IFPTE Local 21 have been in contract negotiations for the past eight months with the City of Oakland.
Oakland Library Assistant Alice McCain explained how she and her fellow workers feel about the City’s inaction: “Oakland workers and residents like me are feeling betrayed by our City leaders. We provide the vital services that keep Oakland running and serve the most vulnerable communities in Oakland, but the City won’t meet us halfway, so our strike continues.”
IFPTE 21 Executive Director Bob Muscat stated, “We were hoping that during the closed session today, City Council would show the type of leadership that Oakland needs, but we were disappointed. They failed to reach an agreement, and are forcing residents to go another day without important services. It’s clear now that they neither prioritize or respect their public employees and the services that we provide.”
City Council members are rescheduled to reconvene closed session on Thursday, December 7 at Oakland City Hall, where workers will set up picket lines starting at 7:00 am.