OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Thousands of Oakland city workers continued a week-long strike Monday as they await the results of a meeting with a new mediator.

On the seventh day of the strike, union rallies started early outside of Oakland City Hall.

The city made what it called its “last best offer” on Thursday, including a four percent raise the first year. But the union said no.

Over the weekend, Oakland city negotiators and union representatives for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 2,000 of the 3,000 striking workers, agreed on David Weinberg as mediator.

The two sides met again Monday morning to continue contract negotiations.

“We’ve just recently gotten some fair increases over the last contract, but that doesn’t negate all of the concessions we’ve had to take since the recession,” said heavy equipment mechanic Felipe Cuevas.

Mayor Libby Schaaf’s spokesperson says they’re respecting the mediation process by not speaking publicly so far Monday. But she’s been making the same point all week, claiming that the unions’ demands would increase the city’s unfunded liabilities.

Last Tuesday, city workers went on strike because of numerous concerns. Workers cite understaffing levels, vacancy and retention problems, workplace conditions and cost of living concerns among their reasons for striking.

The 3,000 workers are participating in the strike, including everyone from garbage collectors to the people who work at senior centers and Head Start children’s programs.

“I know so many of you support us and we love you and we can’t wait to get back to work, said library assistant Alice McCain.

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