OAKLAND (KCBS) — Municipal workers in Oakland returned to their jobs on Tuesday after a one-day strike that shut down all but the emergency public services in the city. Union leaders said the work stoppage was designed to send a message to city leaders.
Most city of Oakland services were stopped on Monday because of the strike by city employees represented by Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21.The strike closed down libraries and most other no-emergency services.
SEIU 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli said the one-day walkout was meant to send the City of Oakland a clear message.
“We’re interested in getting back to the table and getting a contract. That’s the goal. The strike you saw was a tool and an expression of the desire of the workers that enough is enough of this type of bargaining,” he said.
Castelli pointed out that Oakland city workers have not gone on strike in over 60 years.
“It sort of feels like the ghosts of 1946 are with us because that was a turning point in labor history for the City of Oakland and you know we have to do that one again.”
The unions claims that the city is not offering a real raise and want the workers to pay more for their pensions and health benefits.
Oakland Mayor Quan said on Saturday that she and city negotiators met with union representatives on Friday and presented a proposal that included cost-of-living increase—a 3 1/2 percent raise over two years.
The unions, however, declined that offer to continue talks over the weekend. Castelli called Quan’s offer to bargain through the weekend “disingenuous,” intended to mask “three months of bad faith bargaining.”
City negotiators are scheduled to meet with IFPTE Local 21 this coming Friday and with SEIU Local 1021 on July 9, according to City of Oakland spokeswoman Karen Boyd.
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