SEIU 1021

City of Oakland workers show up to support Mayor Sheng Thao’s budget


On Wednesday, May 3, Mayor Sheng Thao presented her budget to the Oakland City Council and the public. Working people united in SEIU 1021 and other community members were there to show their support.

As Angelica Lopez, who is the director of the Tassafaronga Recreation Center and serves as the Oakland chapter’s Treasurer, said in the San Francisco Chronicle, “Many city workers are currently doing the jobs of two or three people. The mayor’s budget proposal is a major step towards addressing the understaffing crisis so that we can deliver better services to residents. As we move forward with the budget process, ensuring that there are no service cuts for residents and no impact on filled positions must be major priorities for all of us.”

SEIU 1021 City of Oakland Chapter President Felipe Cuevas said to the council at the mayor’s presentation, “We know this City has a long-running staffing crisis. Across the City right now, there are more than 950 unfilled full-time jobs. Every one of those jobs represents a core service that Oakland residents are being asked to go without. And even with the last administration’s parting gift of a budget deficit, it’s clear that what Oakland really can’t afford is any more cuts. The mayor’s budget protects services and jobs. That’s good for Oakland, and it’s good for Oaklanders. As this budget process continues, we look forward to working with the mayor and council to ensure that services are maintained and that there is no impact to filled positions across the City, full-time and part-time alike.”

Speaking to the Oaklandside, Angelica Lopez said of the budget, “It’s great that we don’t have any staff cuts; that’s a top priority. Hopefully we have enough staffing to make sure the residents of Oakland have the services required to keep Oakland running.”

According to the mayor’s budget presentation, the City confronts a historic deficit, projected to be around $360 million over the next two fiscal years, because federal pandemic funding will no longer be coming in, and because the real estate transfer tax and transient occupancy (hotel) tax revenues are projected to be lower. Mayor Thao has said that her budget’s guiding principles include “valuing the City workforce” and “preserving current city staff,” and has confirmed that the budget intends to “minimiz[e] impacts on services that residents rely on every day,” while investing in the things Oaklanders care about: affordable housing, programs for youth like Head Start, new shelter and housing options, street resurfacing and other infrastructure projects, and public safety.

To protect services and jobs, City workers and residents will need to keep fighting for the priorities in the mayor’s historic budget so we can keep service levels high and keep working people on the job delivering those services. Over the next few weeks, Oakland City Council members will hold a series of public budget forums, before eventually adopting a final budget on June 30 – so stay tuned!