Outside of Oakland’s city hall, workers gathered to send a message: They want to continue working for Oakland, but they want the resources to do so.
Union members of Local 21 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers led the rally and were joined by other unions who represent other public works employees and service workers.
Accordring to the union, Oakland workers are getting paid less that similar jobs in neighboring jurisdictions — while the cost of living continues to rise.
“We, as Oakland workers, we are underpaid. Many of us have lost our houses. Many of us have been priced out of Oakland,” said leader Tony Daquipa.
The union hopes to avoid a strike that will not only affect city services, but their own livelihood.
Local 21 believes their bargaining team will be more successful due the support of two newly-elected city council-members, which include Nikki Fortunato Bas — the first Filipina-American elected to Oakland’s city council.
The city and the unions hope to reach a new agreement before the current contract expires on June 30.
In December 2017, Oakland city workers went on a seven-day strike that eventually won them a higher wage increase that was originally provided.