On Jan. 11, the City of Oakland sent IBEW a letter stating that due to the recent California Supreme Court ruling, the City is losing its redevelopment agency funding effective February 1, 2012. The loss of redevelopment funds would cause an immediate $25-$30 million dollar budget shortfall for the remaining fiscal year.
Consequently, on Jan. 18, the City issued approximately 2500 lay off notices to all full and part-time employees except sworn officers, Fire, and City Charter-protected employees. All IBEW 1245 members received lay off notices, with an effective date of the lay off as Feb. 3.
Local 1245 Shop Stewards Michael Patterson and Joe Rohrer, and Business Rep. Al Fortier met with other union representatives in the City of Oakland and the Alameda Central Labor Council to coordinate a response. As part of the response we met with Mayor Quan to ask that the City develop a transition team that includes labor representatives, and to delay any lay offs until a transparent and thoughtful plan is developed.
When asked “Why did the City send out so many lay off notices?”, Mayor Quan stated that the City Administrator did not have time to completely assess the impact of the loss of redevelopment funds, and that they were acting out of an abundance of caution to satisfy the two weeks notice requirement for anyone who may potentially be laid off.
On Jan. 25, City Administrator Santana proposed an amended budget to City Council that included the elimination of 124 positions, none of them IBEW. Addressing the Council during the meeting was IBEW Local 1245 shop steward and Advisory Council member Michael Patterson. In the amended budget the City Administrator outlined scenarios where the City seeks additional concessions from all unions. The Council will render its decision on Jan. 31.