Strike suspended as negotiations continue in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Mediation began at 10 a.m. in Oakland on the worker strike that has lasted seven days. By 5:30 p.m. there was a suspension of the strike and next steps were being discussed by union representatives.

RELATED: Oakland officials, unions agree to mediation amid strike

Felipe Cuevas, Chapter President of SEIU Local 1021 says they are making progress. "We have made some progress and I find that promising," he said. "And we're going to try to keep going while we've got a little bit of traction."

Cuevas says the union negotiators are in one room, city negotiators are in another. A neutral mediator is going between, trying to reach a resolution.

Oakland city workers with SEIU Local 1021 entered day 7 of the strike as they say, "cautiously optimistic."

Workers set up picket lines outside Oakland City Hall.

Janine deManda, who has worked at the library for seven years, is disappointed the mayor has not offered them what she feels is a fair contract.

RELATED: Both sides agree to mediation in Oakland strike

They're at odds over pay and labor practices.

"They created a budget that does not fully staff the city," deManda said. "And they are refusing to listen to workers express their concerns not only for our coworkers but for the people of Oakland."

IFPTE Local 21 is in the middle of its own negotiations. That union, which represents about 1,000 members in Oakland, is on a sympathy strike.

Communications specialist Jennifer Li explained it is important for their union members to show solidarity. "It's really important for us to be out here in sympathy strike because when the city gives an offer to SEIU 1021, we expect the same offer for us. It's not like the city is going to give them something and turn around and if give us something better."

Union members are anxious to get back to work.

RELATED: Oakland Mayor Libbie Schaaf discusses Oakland strike

Calvin Hao is a contract services supervisor who sits on the bargaining table with IFPTE Local 21. He never thought the strike would last this long.

"We never thought the city would put us in this position where we had to be out of work for 7 straight days without pay," he said. "This is really detrimental to many of our members who live paycheck to paycheck and they just can't afford to do this. Especially this time of year."
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.