Town Business: City of Oakland and Its Employees Enter Mediation in Effort to Resolve Impasse

A picket outside Oakland City Hall Monday morning. Credits: Darwin BondGraham

Oakland municipal employees remain on strike today, marking day seven of the work stoppage.

The workers say the city isn’t offering them a fair contract. They’re asking for raises to make up for pay cuts imposed during the Great Recession.

Mayor Libby Schaaf’s administration counters that the city can’t afford to give workers what they’re asking for and that revenues remain unpredictable, while certain costs like pensions and healthcare are rising.

The unions are asking for an 8 percent raise over two years. The city has countered with an offer of 4 percent in the first year, 1 percent in year two, plus another 1 percent if tax revenues meet expectations.

But this morning, negotiators for the city and its largest union, SEIU 1021, have agreed to sit back down with a neutral mediator in an effort to reach an agreement.

Meanwhile, the strike continues.

Most of the city’s government is shut down. Libraries, day care centers, senior centers, parks and recreation facilities are closed, and numerous city services are idled. The strike also means the city council isn’t meeting. Boards and commissions are also not meeting for business due the fact that staff from the city clerk and city administrator’s offices are on the picket lines.