3,000 City Workers on Strike in Oakland
SEIU members strike in Oakland over unfair labor practices and being replaced by temporary workers
For the fourth day, Oakland California is shut down as 3,000 city workers continue their strike in an effort to get a fairer contract.
The 2,000 workers, represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, went on strike over unfair labor practices, understaffed departments, vacancy and retention problems, health and safety issues for the community caused by mandatory overtime for emergency dispatchers, and an increasing reliance on temporary part-time employees to service the growing city. Local 1021 has been joined by 1,000 International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 21 members in a sympathy strike.
While both sides have been meeting at the negotiating table over the last few days, the city is refusing to bargain in good faith. "We expected to talk through the issues and together actually solve the problems impacting services. Instead, we were told by City Negotiators that, for a few more dollars, we have to give up on workers' rights and justice,” said SEIU Local 1021 Chief Negotiator Robert Szykowny. “We were told by City Negotiators we must stop insisting on rights and dignity for temporary part-time workers and that we must stop asking for additional illegal dumping crews to get trash off of our streets."
Like many other local governments around the country, Oakland is trying to use temporary staff to fill full-time union jobs. These temporary positions often pay less and provide little to no benefits for the temporary workers. Local 1021 has filed a lawsuit against Oakland’s Mayor and her administration over the “Abuse of Temporary-Part Time Workers.”
In an effort to show City Hall the seriousness of their strike, Local 1021 members were joined by other union members and elected officials as they took part in a civil disobedience outside of City Hall. While the Mayor blew off a bargaining session to attend a fundraiser for her re-election campaign, libraries, senior centers, and Head Start are just some of the government services that are closed until the Mayor can negotiate an end to the strike.