Striking Oakland workers take to the streets

Striking Oakland city employees and BART workers took to the streets Monday in a show of solidarity and support to rally for higher wages.

Most Oakland city services were shut down Monday as city workers blocked the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway at 11a.m. and then hosted a rally in Frank Ogawa Plaza at noon.

Unions representing nearly 2,500 Oakland city employees say they authorized the strike because their workers took a financial hit during the recession, but should be compensated now that the economy is starting to recover.

The Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and the Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 rejected Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s offer for to discuss a cost-of-living pay increase Friday.

The union also refused to negotiate over the weekend saying the mayor wasn’t making a real effort to bargain because she hasn’t participated in contract negotiations in the past three months.

Union leaders also refused an offer to negotiate with the mayor over the weekend in an effort to avoid the one-day strike. City negotiators are scheduled to meet with union leaders July 5 and 9 for contract negotiations.

The one work stoppage strike came on the first day of the BART strike as commuters across the Bay Area struggled through a more crowded and difficult commute.

Striking BART workers, who generally help 400,000 riders during the week, are also seeking higher wages and improved safety conditions.

Most Oakland city services like libraries, senior centers, street sweeping and animal control have been shut down due to the work stoppage, though online services for paying bills and requesting records remained operational. The Broadway shuttle also remained operational.

Emergency services also continued without interruption Monday.

The city of Oakland is posting updates to the strike on their website http://www2.oaklandnet.com.