3,000 Oakland city employees set to strike on Tuesday

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
Oakland is headed toward a work stoppage as more than 3,000 members of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and other city unions announced they will strike on Tuesday.

SEIU Local 1021 and the Oakland city administration have been in negotiation since the early spring. In recent months, SEIU Local 1021 representatives have alleged the city has committed unfair labor practices and its overreliance on temporary workers has not only impacted its members, but by extension, lowered the quality of life in Oakland.

In September, the union created a Web site and video that blamed Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for the illegal dumping and broken promises, such as reducing library hours, among other charges..

Oakland members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 21 also voted to honor the picket lines Tuesday, while the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) Local 1245 expressed solidarity with the striking unions.

Tuesday’s slate of Oakland City Council committee meetings was cancelled in anticipation of the ongoing, contentious labor talks. While the city decides whether to accept the union’s latest offer, it has asked to postpone the strike until the council meets on Wednesday when special meeting of the City Council is scheduled.

Shortly after 2 p.m., SEIU announced an offer made to the city to allow former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to mediate negotiations was denied by the administration.

The decision leaves the union with no choice other than to strike Tuesday, said Rob Szykowny, SEIU’s chief negotiator. “Oakland workers want to go to work tomorrow, but after working without a contract since June, and the City committing unfair labor practices in bargaining and towards our members at work, they are willing to strike.”

The potential one-day work stoppage will not affect Oakland’s public safety departments, but effectively everything else, including for instance, public works projects and libraries.

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