From the City of Oakland team:

About 2,470 civilian employees at the City of Oakland went on strike today; as a result, the majority of City facilities, programs and services are currently unavailable. Programs for seniors and children were most hard hit:

  • Services at the City’s four Senior Centers are unavailable, affecting about 500 seniors who eat lunch at the centers each day.
  • The Summer Food Service Program is not available, affecting about 2,300 youth.
  • Parks and recreation camps and trips serving more than 3,000 people were cancelled.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start centers that serve about 160 children were unavailable; this number is lower than usual because many of the sites are already closed for the summer.
  • The East Oakland Sports Center closed at 1 p.m. today.

City staff is actively working with BART, AC Transit, Caltrans, OPD and the CHP to route traffic and manage traffic demands during the strike.

Throughout the day, the Administration will continue to address unpredictable strike-related service impacts. A summary of those service anticipated impacts can be found here:http://bit.ly/12uXHXu. However, details can change. This is a fluid and unfolding situation, and we will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

We anticipate that services will resume during normal business hours tomorrow, Tuesday, July 2.

Status of Negotiations

In an effort to avert today’s labor strike by unions representing about 2,470 City of Oakland employees, Mayor Jean Quan met with representatives of IFPTE Local 21 and SEIU Local 1021 on Friday. During the meeting,Mayor Quan and City negotiators presented a new economic proposal that offered civilian employees a 3.5% raise over two years, and offered to meet Friday night and as long as necessary through the weekend to reach an agreement and avert a strike.

The Mayor’s offer to continue talks was declined. City negotiators are expected to meet with IFPTE Local 21 at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, July 5. SEIU Local 1021 negotiators have offered to meet on Tuesday, July 9.

Issues at Bargaining Table

 Civilian union leaders argue that they have not had a raise in six years, and that growing revenues flowing into City coffers as a result of Oakland’s economic recovery should be used to fund a 10-13% salary increase for City employees.

Although the City’s financial outlook is beginning to stabilize and show encouraging signs of growth, the reality is that the City faces significant deferred costs and unfunded liabilities that must be addressed in the coming years to avoid future budget shortfalls and the service and staff cuts that inevitably follow.

Public agencies across California are facing similar financial challenges, with pension and health care costs rising faster than revenues despite moderate economic recovery. For example, for civilian (non-public safety) employees alone:

 

· CalPERS recently announced that it would raise health care premiums for 2014 by 11%, which will cost the City $3 million more to provide the same benefit.

 

· The City of Oakland’s employer retirement contributions to CalPERS will increase by 20% next year, a net increase of $8 million. Over the next 7 years, the City anticipates that cumulative retirement costs will go up by 37%.

 

· The mandatory furlough days and other temporary contributions agreed to by employees in light of multi-million budget shortfalls over the past few years expired on June 30, restoring about 9% of employee pay, valued at about $21 million.

 

· In sum, the City is already committing an additional $32 million in employee compensation this year: $21 million to restore employee salaries by eliminating furlough days, and $11 million in increased health care and retirement costs. To sustain civilian employees at the current level, revenue would have to grow by $32 million per year every year. Sustaining sworn (police and fire) personnel for pension and health insurance would require even more revenue.

 

· The 10-13% cost of living increase sought by civilian employee unions would cost an additional $29 – 38 million annually. Granting the unions’ request in addition to the increases to which the City has already committed would swell City’s cost of civilian employee compensation by $61 to 70 million, of which only $38 million was budgeted by the Oakland City Council when it passed the two-year budget last Thursday, leaving a gap of $23-32 million.

 

As a result of these projected increases, the City is looking to employees to share in the rising costs of providing an outstanding health care and retirement benefit package. The Administration has a responsibility to ensure that over the long term, Oakland’s revenues can fund vital services to the community, begin to address a $1 billion backlog of deferred maintenance and critical technology upgrades and fund double-digit growth in health care and retirement costs.

 

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“We are seeking to reach an agreement that both honors the workforce and enhances the City’s long-term financial health,” said Mayor Quan. “A stable financial outlook will enable the City to provide employees with predictable compensation and benefits and provide the community with predictable service levels over the long term, avoiding future layoffs.”

 

“My administration will always support our employees’ right to lawfully strike,” said Mayor Quan. “However, negotiations have not reached impasse with any of the bargaining units. We remain committed to meeting as often as needed to reach a fair-share agreement.”

 

“We recognize and appreciate the significant contributions and sacrifices that City employees have made to keep the City afloat during the global recession,” Quan said. “Their willingness to give back has helped to preserve City services while saving countless jobs. The past few years have been tough. The City Council passed a strong budget last week that both funds significant employee compensation and balances resources for public services and our community’s highest priority: public safety. We can and should do both. ”

 

The City remains open to continued negotiations with employee unions and to exploring cost-sharing proposals and other ideas presented at the bargaining table that will allow us to reach agreements that ensure long-term financial stability for both employees and the community.

 

Stay Informed

This is a fluid situation with many details still unknown. The City will use a variety of communications channels to keep the public informed about strike-related service impacts:

         Check our web site for regular updates:www.oaklandnet.com

         Follow us on Twitter:  @CityofOaklandCA

         Call (510) 444-CITY for information and/or recorded updates.

         To receive alerts by email or wireless device, subscribe to our email/text updates system by entering your email address in the “Email Updates” section on the City’s home page, www.oaklandnet.com. To receive wireless alerts via mobile phone, be sure to check the “Send Wireless Alerts to this address” box and enter your mobile number and carrier.

         Visit www.511.org or call 511 for up-to-date traffic and transit information.

 

3 Responses

  1. Joe Max

    Maybe if the City administration would reign in the OPD and comply with the court ordered reorganization, the city wouldn’t have to keep paying out millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements, and we’d have more money available to pay people decent wages!

    Reply
  2. John

    As a union member myself, I’m typically more than sympathetic to labor. But this situation is just absurd and paints all union workers, as well as public employees, in a terrible light. Fight for your raises all you want. All you’ll end up doing is winning a battle to lose the war.

    Oh, and don’t hand my flyers pretending this has anything to do with “safety.” It doesn’t. I’d respect the strike a bit more if they’d be honest. You want more money. We all do. Own it.

    Reply
  3. John

    Max, please. Union workers in the Bay Area make very good wages. Coupled with the benefits packages one could make the argument that they are overpaid.

    Reply

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