City of Oakland Workers Lead the Community’s Fight for a City Budget That Works for Everyone
City of Oakland workers led the community charge last night as hundreds of Oaklanders stormed Oakland’s City Council meeting to speak out in favor of good services for city residents. Previously, Mayor Libby Schaaf had proposed a budget that the community had roundly rejected for making parks dirtier and less safe by cutting Parks and Rec staffing, ignoring homelessness and the affordable housing crisis, and making city workers poorer while costs of living continue to skyrocket.
In the meeting, City Council President Rebecca Kaplan proposed an alternate budget, which protects Oakland’s parks, hires additional personnel to fix Oakland’s illegal dumping crisis, paves Oakland’s famously pothole-ridden roads, and provides fair wages for city workers.
Dozens of SEIU 1021 members and other members of the community spoke in favor of Kaplan’s budget, even as the Mayor and City Administrator were spreading misinformation and threatening that Kaplan’s budget would result in layoffs. As Chapter President Felipe Cuevas told City Council last night, “There are only two things that can justify layoffs: a lack of work, or a lack of money. We all know how much work there is to do in Oakland, and how can the administration say there is a lack of money when there isn’t even a budget? Their eagerness to threaten layoffs is union-busting, plain and simple, and we won’t stand for it.”
SEIU 1021 has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the city for this attempt to intimidate workers standing up for the community, and 1021 members will be out in force on Tuesday, June 18, when City Council will again discuss the budgets they will choose between: the Mayor’s budget, which puts cranes in the sky while leaving trash and potholes in the streets, and Council President Kaplan’s budget, which builds a better future for the entire city by investing in services and city workers.