PRESS RELEASE: Oakland City Workers Applaud Adoption of Budget that Protects Public Services

The adopted budget prioritizes delivering core services to Oakland residents without layoffs and makes significant investments in the issues that matter most to Oaklanders: affordable housing, safe, clean streets, and community safety


(Oakland, CA) After the passage of Oakland’s two-year balanced budget on Monday, unions representing thousands of city employees applaud Mayor Sheng Thao and the City Council for overcoming an unprecedented budget shortfall left over from the previous administration. Council Members Carroll Fife, Kevin Jenkins, Dan Kalb, Rebecca Kaplan and Council President Bas have shown what real leadership looks like in voting to adopt this historic budget.


The final budget, initially put forth by Mayor Thao, then amended by City Council, puts Oaklanders first, and makes significant investments in affordable housing, parks, roads, and community safety. We are glad to see the final budget takes bold steps to address the City’s long-running vacancy crisis, which City workers have been sounding the alarm on for years. The Oaklandside recently reported that just under 19% of permanent positions at the City of Oakland are vacant. When nearly one in five budget positions goes unfilled, important work for Oaklanders goes undone.


The final budget establishes a ‘Vacancy Strike Force,’ invests over $110,000 in job fairs, and invests $1.5 million into converting so-called “temporary, part-time” (TPT) workers, many of whom have worked for the City for years, into full-time positions.


Heavy equipment mechanic Felipe Cuevas, who serves as the President of Oakland’s SEIU 1021 chapter, representing more than 2,000 City workers, said to City Council on Monday, “Thank you Mayor Sheng Thao, and thank you to the City’s staffers, for this historic budget. Even in the face of a challenging revenue shortfall, the Mayor’s budget prioritizes important city services our members are proud to provide. The budget values our workers, and doesn’t impose cruel cuts that hurt Oakland residents and put our members out of work. This budget and this budget process have been a welcome change, and I hope we can move forward with City workers and City officials continuing to work together in an inclusive, collaborative way so we can all do the best we can for all of Oakland’s residents.”


“This budget puts us on a path to staffing up the City and restoring services,” said Seth Olyer, Oakland Firefighters IAFF Local 55 Vice President. “By avoiding layoffs and securing the FEMA SAFER grant, this budget keeps your Oakland firefighters where we belong: on fire engines and trucks responding to nearly one hundred thousand calls for service across this great city.”


“We applaud Mayor Thao and Council President Bas for their hard work and leadership in this historic budget shortfall,” said Julian Ware, IFPTE Local 21 Oakland Vice President. “The final budget takes real steps to tackle the major crises Oaklanders face through investments in affordable housing, community safety, and recruiting much-needed staff across all of our critical services.”