VIDEO: Oakland city workers begin strike outside City Hall

OAKLAND (KRON) — Oakland city workers have started striking Tuesday morning.

The workers are demanding a pay raise, which the City of Oakland says it cannot afford.

The strike was originally planned for 7:00 a.m., but workers were already picketing in front of City Hall at least a half-hour before that.

The services affected by the strike include street cleaning, parking enforcement, libraries, building inspectors, senior services, and some head start services.

Emergency services will not be affected by the strike.

SEIU Local 1021, and IFPTE Local 21, which represent over 3,000 workers, say City of Oakland negotiators have rejected the proposal to avert the strike by entering into “informal mediation, causing Oakland workers to strike tomorrow.”

“The more than 2,000 workers represented by SEIU 1021 will strike in protest of the City’s unfair labor practices, with IBEW 1245 honoring their picket lines. The nearly 1,000 City workers represented by IFPTE 21 will be on sympathy strike,” union officials said in a press release.

Here is the rest of the union’s statement:

Earlier today, the three unions proposed postponing a strike action if the City of Oakland negotiators agreed to offer to enter informal, pre-impasse mediation with the help of former Assembly Speaker and Mayor Willie Brown,

Chief negotiator for SEIU Local 1021 Rob Szykowny expressed the workers’ disappointment in the City’s decision to leave workers no other choice but to strike: “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. Furthermore, the City still refuses to prioritize the health and safety challenges facing Oakland residents and workers. ”

At issue in these negotiations are unfair labor practices, 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.

IFPTE Local 21 member Waliana Dieu echoed SEIU Local 1021’s Chief Negotiator’s disappointment and said, “ Our workers staff vital City departments, like the City’s crime labs, and our communities deserve a commitment from City leaders that they’re willing to prioritize services to the public and respect their workers.”

Michael Patterson, Chief Steward of IBEW 1245, the union representing City of Oakland electricians added, “As City of Oakland residents and workers, we’re united in getting City leaders to prioritize the issues that are impacting community services.”

Oakland workers will be striking starting at 7am, Tuesday, December 5th. Picket lines will be up throughout the city, including the Equipment Services Facility at 7101 Edgewater Drive
at Oakland City Hall. The sanctioned strike will continue in front of Mayor Libby Schaaf’s re-election fundraiser hosted by Oakland’s top developers and property owners.

To learn more about the issues facing Oakland’s residents and city workers visit libbysoakland.com or on Facebook at @LibbySchaafsOakland.

Here is Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s response:

“We value City of Oakland employees and agree they deserve increased wages – which is why we have offered up to a 6 percent raise over two years.

“Yet we cannot spend more than we can afford.

“The union’s decision to strike Tuesday will impact all Oakland residents, and particularly the most vulnerable populations – our families who use libraries, our elders who rely on senior centers, our youth who play at rec centers, and our working mothers and youngest learners who rely on Head Start programs.

“We are disappointed the union leadership decided to strike because we are not at an impasse. We view this strike as unlawful, and will file an unfair labor practice charge.

“We will also continue to work in good faith to reach an agreement.

“All Oakland residents, and our employees, deserve a fiscally responsible and sustainable city.”

And here is the City of Oakland’s response:

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