Mediation Underway to End Oakland City Workers Dispute
Wednesday, December, 27, 2017
Mediation could be the solution to an ongoing dispute that resulted in a strike by Oakland City workers. The strike, which is currently on hold, was in its sixth day. At this point, both sides have agreed to mediation that will be overseen by a neutral third party.
According to Rob Szykowny, Chief negotiator for the city workers’ union, "It is a small showing by the city that they are willing to compromise and go to mediation, I am very cautious though, the city has been bargaining in bad faith for eight months. ”
The mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, has expressed hopefulness that the mediation will resolve dispute.
The strike began when 3000 Oakland city worker left their jobs because of a dispute over working conditions and pay. So far, negotiations have yielded no progress and the two sides remain far apart on pay increases. The union is demanding four percent for the first and second year of the new contract. City officials were willing to grant the first year increase, but not the second year. They stated it should be based on revenue.
According to Schaaf, “We cannot spend money we do not have. ”
The strike was suspended as of the first day of mediation. According to the Chapter President of the SEIU, mediation had yielded some progress and the intention was to keep going.
Several city workers were outside of the mediation session talking about all of the things they wanted and how what the city had already agreed to was still not fair. Said a library worker, “… they are refusing to listen to workers express their concerns not only for our coworkers but for the people of Oakland”.