Some 3,000 City of Oakland workers prepare to strike

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland city workers are ready for the picket lines as some 3,000 plan to strike Tuesday morning. Union members worked on picket signs at the SEIU Local 1021 office in Oakland Monday night.

"I think it will bring the city to a halt and hopefully that will show the city how important our workers are," said Rob Szykowny, Chief Negotiator SEIU Local 1021.

City engineers and electricians are striking in solidarity with the SEIU members.

"Fifty-percent of our labor force is considered temporary part time and at will employees," said Lina Hernandez, an Oakland Library Aide. She says the city never replaced full time staff members lost during the recession. Instead, as a cost saving measure, those positions have been filled with multiple part time workers. Those workers do not receive health or retirement benefits and there's a cap on hours.

Mayor Libby Schaaf says the city does not have the budget to meet the union's proposals.

"When the city spends money it does not have that is not good for our workers or residents," said Mayor Schaaf.

Public safety related services will happen. Police officers, firefighters, and dispatchers will be working. Non-essential services like parking enforcement, crime and traffic report writing will not.

Mayor Schaaf said the strike will hurt the city's most vulnerable including working mothers who won't have childcare. The city's Head Start program will be shut down during the strike. It services around 400 children.
"I might have to cancel some of my shifts at work," said Janea Perkins. Her son attends Head Start. The community center where he takes karate classes will also be closed.

"It's kind of frustrating because especially the City of Oakland to even let it get that far," said Perkins.

There are no negotiations scheduled for tomorrow.

"I'm available and can convene the team within an hour. So they have my number they can give me a call whenever they want," said Szykowny.

SEIU filed a claim last week against the city for its use of temporary workers. The city announced Monday night its plans to file an unfair labor practice charge for the strike.

The strike length is indefinite. Union leaders say they'll factor negotiation progress into their decision each day on whether or not to strike the next day.

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

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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