This our moment. The electric energy that is coursing through our streets is all over the country. Years of work and movement building for racial, economic, and environmental justice has brought us to the cusp of major shifts. Systemic changes for Black futures, birthed from our collective imaginations, are within reach.
For so long, we and so many others have worked and plotted and planned and organized our people and policies to bring accountability for the injustices that our communities have faced. We are calling out those in power who’ve benefited from these injustices – the police, elected officials, corporations – and telling them that there are no more chances, no more excuses, no more compromises for justice.
 
In 2018, Oakland Rising helped to pass Measure Z in Oakland, which would institute a living wage, provide safety measures for hotel workers, and establish the Department of Workplace and Employment Standards (DWES). Two years later, we are still waiting for these policies to be implemented. 
Despite having passed emergency paid sick leave for Oakland workers, Oakland continues to be the city hardest hit by COVID-19 in Alameda County. We need city council to enforce protections for our frontline workers, the majority of whom are Black and Brown, to ensure their health and livelihood. We need our elected representatives to step into their leadership and finally put the will of the voters into place.
No more room to compromise. No more excuses. They need to hear our voices. 
Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 9th at 11:30AM, City Council will vote to stand up Oakland’s new Department of Workplace and Employment Standards (agenda item 5) and hire the Chief Enforcement Officer (agenda item 6), both of which were approved by voters as part of Measure Z in 2018. We need your help to secure the Department – it’s time for Oakland to have an independent department that will enforce and uphold worker protections and local labor standards. The department will also help educate workers about their rights and make sure employers follow the law.
Help make this a reality:


1.) Contact the following councilmembers:

– General Oakland City Council – council@oaklandca.gov
– District 3 – Lynette McElhaney – 510-238-7003 – lmcelhaney@oaklandca.gov
– District 5 – Noel Gallo – 510-238-7005 – ngallo@oaklandca.gov
– District 6 – Loren Taylor  – 510-238-7006 – ltaylor@oaklandca.gov
– District 7 – Larry Reid – 510-238-7007 – lreid@oaklandca.gov 

Script: “My name is _______ and I live/work in __________ (your place of residency). I support working families in the City of Oakland, and I urge the City Council to stand up the new Department of Workplace and Employment Standards (DWES) to uphold the rights of workers and enforce our city’s labor laws. Oakland voters created this Department when we passed Measure Z with 76% of the vote in 2018. We are in a critical moment in history. We need our local government and elected leaders to step up for working people and to prioritize resources towards addressing economic inequities which are racial inequities. The city needs to prioritize funding for this Department and others that uplift the needs of our communities and advance racial and economic justice. Any funding cuts should come from OPD, not on the backs of workers. This department can be a tool for advancing justice for workers, especially workers in some of the lowest-paying jobs. Please approve items 5 & 6 on today’s agenda to demonstrate your commitment to uplifting the workers that hold up our economy and community. Thank you.”

2.) Drop an E-comment via the City’s Online Portal (on agenda items 5 & 6) leading up to Tuesday’s city council meeting at 11:30AM (e-comment closes at 11:25AM tomorrow). You will have to register beforehand to leave a comment. You can also email your comments to council@oaklandca.gov or info@workingeastbay.org before Tuesday. Feel free to use the script above!

3.) Join the online City Council meeting and share your public comment. Click here to join via the Zoom application. You can also call-in at 1(669) 900-6833, and use Webinar ID: 871 0913 3062 to join.
In May, the Oakland City Council unanimously voted to extend the existing eviction moratorium that was set to expire on May 31st. The eviction moratorium will continue to provide temporary relief for tenants, property owners, and small businesses for the duration of the Local Emergency (Governor’s Executive Order). 

Thanks to Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas’s work to pave the way for tenant rights, Oakland has one of the strongest eviction moratoriums in the country that also calls for broader solutions at the state and federal level such as mortgage relief and rent forgiveness. Thank you for helping us to to uphold a strong eviction moratorium that will preserve housing for our most vulnerable communities while also advocating for longer-term comprehensive solutions to the Bay Area housing crisis. 

As we rejoice and celebrate these wins, we are clear that our work doesn’t stop here. We also urge City Council to adopt a “right to return” ordinance that will allow workers laid off due to COVID-19 the right to their jobs when employers reopen and resume hiring, and we are still pushing our city and county officials to take real, immediate steps for Black futures. We hope you will continue to support and help push for policies that reflect a world in which all of our most vulnerable communities are prioritized, protected, served, and uplifted for years to come.