Oakland Chapters Hold Enough is Enough Rally, Call for Honest Budget

Chants of "Enough is Enough!" from hundreds of members of Local 21, SEIU 1021, and IBEW 1245 were heard outside at a multi-union rally, and later inside the Council Chambers when the City of Oakland made its first budget presentation to the Oakland City Council earlier this month. For months, the City has been circulating revenue projections that are exceedingly conservative and function only to paint a false picture of unaffordability amidst the backdrop of contract negotiations.

Our message at the rally and Council Hearing was simple and undeniable: We loaned the City the funds to get through its severe fiscal crisis over the last five years. The help we gave amounted to 14% from increased retirement payments and temporary furloughs, plus another 10% due to suspension of cost of living increases in the face of 10% inflation. At the end of the day, civilian employees have suffered a 25% cut in pay. We've made hard sacrifices to endure this economic hardship; we’ve lost homes and have made difficult choices about sending our kids to college. The City has also cut non-sworn staff by 20% over the last six years, resulting in crushing workloads as we try to manage the work of people no longer here.  

At the rally and budget hearing, Local 21 members spoke out about the need for the City to make whole the dedicated people who have sacrificed to keep Oakland afloat during its difficult economic times. As Local 21 and other unions head into contract negotiations, our City of Oakland chapters are demanding an honest budget from the City that accurately reflects the reality of the economic improvements we’re seeing, so we can get the fair contract we deserve.

As a result of our activism and call for the City to use honest numbers, Mayor Quan directed the administration to improve transparency by providing additional budget data to the unions and other stakeholders, prior to the presentation of the proposed budget later this month. The Mayor will present the budget to Council on April 30 and then hold a series of town halls during the month of May. Local 21 members will be there with our message of honest numbers and fair budgeting.