SEIU 1021 takes the lead in reimagining public safety by spearheading Oakland’s MACRO program and creating good, union jobs to respond to mental health emergencies
Public safety has many faces. To protect our community and improve conditions for our friends, family, and neighbors who are experiencing mental health issues, Oakland has taken a bold step by creating a new emergency response unit called the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (MACRO). This unit will be made up of civilians with medical and mental health training, and these civilians will be SEIU 1021 members.
The program was adopted by a unanimous City Council vote after a lot of organizing by members of SEIU 1021 and the community. A poll of Oaklanders showed that “58% of residents support having someone other than the police respond to nonviolent emergencies, including mental health calls.” The unit was originally going to be contracted out to local non-profits, but a strong push by SEIU 1021 members and leaders like Yeon Park helped City Council see that one way to improve public safety is to create new union jobs that help working families get ahead.
Yeon Park, SEIU 1021’s East Bay Vice President, said, “Establishing the MACRO program is an important step forward for Oakland. Bringing improved responses to Oaklanders experiencing mental health emergencies is something we can all be proud of. Working with the community to build this program in-house, with good union jobs, shows the City of Oakland is committed to community safety and providing it in a transparent, equitable way. An in-house MACRO program staffed by City workers will help our community thrive.”
The City of Oakland chapter of SEIU 1021 has committed to an expedited process, to get this unit up and running as quickly as possible, so our members can continue to improve—and reimagine—public safety.