Oakland City Workers Strike Against “Unfair Labor Practices.” Photo by Ken Epstein.
About 2,000 unionized workers, represented by SEIU Local 1021, went on strike Tuesday accusing the City of Oakland of refusing to bargain in good faith.
Union members have been working for eight months without a contract. About 900 of the city’s professional and technical workers represented by IFPT 21 are conducting a sympathy strike.
The situation is fluid and changing day by day. Strikers say the work stoppage will continue indefinitely until the city agrees to conduct “good faith bargaining,” according to Local 1021.
“We thought the city would come back to the bargaining table after a day or two, but they haven’t,” said a union spokesperson.
Union members and leaders accuse Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf of sounding like an anti-labor Republican for her attacks on the strike, which she says is illegal.
“We are disappointed the union leadership decided to strike because we are not at an impasse. We view this strike as unlawful and will file an unfair labor practice charge,” said the mayor Monday in a media release.
The unions and several labor relations experts deny the mayor’s allegations.
Striking workers were joined Tuesday afternoon by local residents and community groups to protest a $1,600-a-plate re-election campaign fundraiser for Mayor Schaaf.