Thousands of Oakland employees to continue strike through Wednesday

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Several city buildings were closed and some city programs canceled Tuesday after at least 3,000 Oakland workers went on strike over pay and labor practices.

Officials said this strike did not impact emergency services.

The SEIU union says it hopes this strike will help the city realize how important these employees are to Oakland's daily life.

They started picketing before dawn and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf declared this strike unlawful. She also added the city would file an unfair labor practice charge, but that threat did not deter these workers. By mid-morning, they had officially shut down city hall.

"We all know the truth, we are underpaid, overworked, understaffed as well at this city," Public Works Project Manager Ali Schwarz said.

Some of the Oakland workers ABC7 News spoke with said shutting down the city was not an easy decision. "I am not happy about it. I mean we're really conflicted. We want to come to work and do the work we normally do, but the city has come to a point of we don't really have a choice," crime lab technician Waliana Dieu said.

Schaaf said the city has negotiated in good faith for seven months and has offered fair salary increases pointing out the city only has so much money. "We can't spend money we don't have. We need to fill potholes. If we spend money we don't have, we then compromise services," Schaaf said.

However, some workers said they aren't buying it. "There is a building boom in Oakland. There's money. I know, there's money," planning & building liaison Julia Bell said.

Most city facilities will be closed, along with Headstart, after school programs and recreation centers on Tuesday.

The city has cancelled all City Council Committee meetings for December 5.

Police and fire and 911 dispatchers will all be at work.

Programs and facilities that will be closed include:
Head Start and Early Head Start sites
Senior Centers
Public libraries
Recreation centers and programs, including after school programs
Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP): No case management services for frail seniors except for scheduled home visits
No brown bag food distribution

Civic Center buildings: City Hall, 150 and 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza:

Parking Citation Assistance Center closed
Housing Assistance Center closed
No sale of paratransit taxi/bus vouchers
No fire inspections
No Fire Department plan checking and permits
No building inspections
Business Tax License closed
Business Assistance Center closed
Planning & Building Permit Counter closed

Other services that will be unavailable include:
No parking enforcement
No street sweeping
No public restrooms at City facilities
No routine maintenance work
No abandoned auto detail
No crime or traffic reports

For towed vehicles, OPD will provide a vehicle release form at the Police Administration Building, 455 7th Street, 1st floor, Records window.
Oakland's animal shelter will provide limited services during the strike: The Oakland Animal Shelter (OAS) will be open during regular hours for owners looking to reclaim their lost animals and for members of the public who must bring in stray or surrendered animals.
Routine services such as adoptions and licensing will not occur.
Partner agencies will transfer animals from OAS' care so that they may be adopted through alternate channels.
Volunteers will assist management to care for the animals in the shelter.
Calls for emergency response on animal-related matters should be directed to OPD.
Calls for routine services including dead animal pickup, strays, and other non-emergency calls will be delayed for the duration of the strike.

Some services will remain available, including:
Pay a parking citation
Report and track non-emergency problems, such as graffiti, illegal dumping or potholes
Report non-emergency crimes
Renew a residential parking permit
Pay a delinquent garbage bill
Download agenda reports and legislative actions of the City Council
Register for a City of Oakland dog license
Register for Parks and Recreation activities and classes
Review the library's Online Catalog and web-based services

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