Oakland City Services Suffering as Strike Enters 2nd Week

A strike by thousands of Oakland city workers will enter its second week, and on Monday, a state mediator is going to try to help the two sides come to an agreement.

Still, without that agreement, some city services remain closed.

The trash dumped near 27th Street has resident Joe Saldana shaking his head. He said the mess has expanded since the strike.

"Of course because the city does clean up around here, if they're not working, doing their job, it gets worse and worse," Saldana said.

He’s also worried about cleanup efforts being scaled back at homeless encampments.

Rob Szykowny, chief negotiator with the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said there are concerns about health and safety for cleanup workers. About 3,000 employees have picketed since Tuesday.

"While there is an economic component, I would say other issues are main sticking points right now," he said.

Janine Demanda works in the main library, which would typically be open Sunday.

"I am very hopeful the city, particularly the mayor, will be responsive," she said.

The city is proposing a wage increase, but the union says the city's proposal does not keep pace with cost of living. Mayor Libby Schaaf says the city has addressed concerns about working conditions around homeless encampments, offering a premium wages and increases for other positions.

"What we have on the table right now is a 5 percent raise, and it could be as much as 6 percent if revenues reach certain marks," Schaaf said.

The mayor said the city also is facing sharp increases in pension costs over the next five years and can’t give what they don’t have. Union leaders say there are other revenue streams not being considered.

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