Union says Oakland city workers will strike for a fourth day

- Oakland city workers will strike a fourth day this week on Friday according to union representatives from SEIU Local 1021.  Mayor Libby Schaaf updated the situation Thursday night to say a "final" offer was made to the union that struck the balance of being fair to both the city's residents and to its workers. 

Though negotiations continued into the evening hours on Thursday, there's no telling if real progress is being made.

"The City Council did adjourn their closed session. They provided the negotiating team with directions. That direction will be formally presented at the bargaining table within the hour. Informally, the unions have notified us that they intend to continue the strike tomorrow," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The mayor outlined the three components of the final offer, which included; an immediate 4% pay increase, retroactive to July 2017 with a 1% increase in Jan. 2019. In addition, they would look at the end of the first quarter for 2019 for the option of another 1% increase retroactive to Jan. 2019. 

She said the offer also agreed to allocate half a million dollars to convert positions in Oakland libraries from temporary to permanent, part time. 

The offer also made available three seats for SEIU on the Safe Streets and Clean Neighborhoods committee. The committee addresses illegal dumping issues in Oakland. 

What appeared to be a new proposal was on the table as of mid-afternoon. 

The mayor stated the decision on the final offer was not made lightly. "We have been bargaining in good faith for seven months," she said. "The total different enhancements that we have offered have totaled up to roughly $5 million in increased compensation for SEIU." 

"We said the entire time that we were waiting for a new proposal from the city and the we were happy to negotiate even while striking. And so, the strike is on tomorrow, but we're gonna talk seriously with the city and based on what it is, we'll see if we can get back to work. But right now, I see nothing to make me think we're gonna be back to work tomorrow, said SEIU Union Chief Negotiator Rob Szykowny.

As this goes on, the city loses big money as meter maids are no on the job along with other revenue generators. One of the big problems: all the garbage that's building up at the city's many homeless camps.  

A lot of this garbage attracts rodents, it threatens fire and it's not a problem that grows worse each day, it grows worse each minute. One entire lane of Fifth Street has become an ever growing junk yard. The trucks and crews that would clean it up lay idle.

Libraries and senior centers are closed. Abandoned cars sit as no city maintenance work is going on. That also means there are no building inspections or crime or traffic reports. 

"What I can say is that the ball is in the union's court," said Mayor Schaaf.

"And the city just says no. They don't explain why. They don't tell us how we can meet them half way. They just say no," said negotiator Szykowny.

Even with upcoming cannabis sales taxes about to flow in, the City insists it cannot afford the worker's demands.
 

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