Oakland Members Call Strike, Shut Down City

Our Oakland chapters called the first strike in their history against the City of Oakland on Monday, July 1. In an inspiring display of unity and power, thousands joined the picket lines and accomplished the goals of shutting down Oakland City government and sending a strong message to the City. Local 21 members joined well-organized picket lines with SEIU 1021 members at key city locations. 

Over the past five years, Oakland civilian employees agreed to $150 million in wage cuts, developed $20 million in budget efficiencies and streamlining, urged hiring freezes and proposed retirement incentive programs – all for the preservation of core services for Oakland residents during the economic downturn.

In 15 weeks of negotiations the City has failed to engage in meaningful and substantial negotiations that could have avoided the strike. Striking is always a last resort – a brutal way to settle any dispute. The Mayor, City Council, and City Administrator left employees with no choice but to strike and send the strongest message possible, that we are united in opposition to any permanent cuts of any kind and we deserve a salary increase. 

“As professionals, it breaks our hearts to strike the City we love. However, we believe that our one day strike, with more strike days to come if necessary, is in the City’s interest,” said Local 21 Oakland Vice President Renee Sykes. “How can Oakland be a progressive city of love and respect if its own city employees are disrespected and not valued?”

Bargaining is set to resume on Friday, July 5. Last minute movement from the Mayor, who came to bargaining last Friday, will be discussed with every effort made to see if we can build on this and lead to an agreement without concessions.

“Few, if any Local 21 members went to work, and we should all be proud of our organization and solidarity,” said Chief Negotiator Vickie Carson.