Nov 11 Oakland Press Release

2nd Oakland City Union Votes to Strike

IFPTE Local 21, representing 900 professionals working for the City of Oakland, voted overwhelmingly yesterday to strike if a fair settlement is not reached in their contract bargaining with the City.

At issue in these negotiations is the City of Oakland’s refusal to move off a proposal that would see City employees receiving cost of living increases that only amount to about half the rate of inflation. This comes despite a positive economic outlook for the City, and after a compensation study commissioned by the City showed that workers are about 10% behind comparable jurisdictions in wages and benefits. Local 21 members are not willing to fall further behind when the city is experiencing prosperity while the effects of vacancies and retention issues in our departments are affecting our ability to provide services.

Local 21 Oakland Vice President Renee Sykes told members prior to the vote, “The commitment and loyalty of City workers to the City of Oakland is real. Sacrifices were made during the recession to keep this City afloat. Homes were lost, college educations deferred. The City of Oakland is no longer the employer of choice; their own compensation study shows that. What’s it going to take for Oakland officials to recognize that without the workers, who is going to deliver the services that Oakland residents deserve? I call on the Mayor to end her anti-union tactics and be accountable to her own employees.”

Contract bargaining will continue as strike preparations are accelerated.  IFPTE Local 21 is coordinating with SEIU 1021, the largest union in the City, whose members already voted to strike and walked out on a half day strike two weeks ago. Both unions picketed the Mayor’s State of the City event in early November, and hold her responsible for the divisive environment she is creating.  “At a time when a smart Mayor would be taking action to build unity and solve the serious problems occurring in Oakland, Mayor Schaaf is moving to hurt the very people on the front lines in the City’s effort to clean up the city, and improve living conditions for all the City’s residents.” said Bob Muscat, IFPTE Local 21 Executive Director. 

The last Local 21 strike was in 2013, and lasted for one day. The Local 21 Bargaining Team is preparing for a longer strike this year.