Local 21 members working for the City of Oakland have voted to strike if the City continues to refuse to come to a fair contract settlement. 95% voted to reject the City’s wage proposal of 2% per year, and instead voted in favor of a strike.
Oakland members have been bargaining since May. The City clung to its initial proposal of zero wage increases and 1% bonuses for many sessions, eventually moving to the 2% per year offer after members took action. This wage proposal comes despite an excellent economic outlook for the City, an inflation rate that’s nearly double their offer, and the City’s own compensation study which found Local 21 members are making about 10% less than comparable jurisdictions.
Oakland members have engaged in multiple actions to drive the City up from zero wage increases, from rallies to informational pickets to packing City Council meetings. However, things have reached a place at the bargaining table where negotiators and members on the Local 21 Bargaining Team believe that the City is stuck at 2% and 2% and isn’t inclined to move without further escalation from the membership. Our team isn’t alone in this assessment- other city unions have also reached a point where more action is needed and are preparing to strike. SEIU already called a half day strike earlier in the month.
Oakland Vice President Renee Sykes said, “Asking members to fall behind when the city is doing so well economically is unacceptable. We gave back when times were hard, and now we see they are going to keep asking us to fall further behind when times are good! Enough is enough. It’s time to show the City that we are united and will fight for what’s right.”
Oakland members are calling on Mayor Schaaf to reinvest in public services for the community, and in the workers who provide those services. Local 21 members are very concerned about losing even more co-workers to competitively paying jobs, and watching positions remain open in their wake. Oakland residents need more services, not less. It’s time for the City to settle its contracts with workers and concentrate on Oakland residents instead.