By Steven Tavares.
Few East Bay labor unions are more aggressive than the Service Employees International Union Local 1021. Whether in Hayward where union leaders screamed at elected officials during a long labor contract impasse or the seemingly routine appearances of purple-clad SEIU members packing the Oakland City Council chambers, the union is hard-core.
Earlier this week, a report detailed stalled labor negotiations between the Oakland city administration and SEIU Local 1021, along with IFPTE Local 21. Together the unions represent roughly 3,000 city employees. According to the East Bay Express, negotiations became contentious after the city offered an initial contract containing no cost of living increases, and thereby angering the unions.
Apparently, SEIU Local 1021 is very upset. On Tuesday, it released a website taking dead aim at Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
The site, LibbysOakland.com, is not only hard-edged, but also mocking in tone. For instance, the site is titled, “A crisis made in Oakland,” which is a nod at Schaaf’s campaign slogan from three years ago. Furthermore, the site includes the tagline, “Where part time workers are told to fix Oakland’s full time problems.”
The rudimentary site includes pages that charge Schaaf with breaking promises to keep city libraries open seven day a week, coziness with developers, illegal dumping issues and overworking understaffed public safety dispatchers.
More interestingly, the site and the overall strategy is more typically used during political campaigns, and specifically, to highlight a single issue, usually embarrassing to the opponent.
The most recent and well-known example was during the June 2014 primary in the East Bay’s 10th State Senate District race that included Bob Wieckowski and Mary Hayashi.
Wieckowski’s campaign unleashed mugshotmary.com, which highlighted in graphic detail Hayashi’s infamous arrest for shoplifting as an assemblymember three years prior. Hayashi responded by releasingBobProtectedRapists.com. Nevertheless, the race was downright ugly.
Meanwhile, SEIU Local 1021’s website also suggests a long and vicious couple of month at City Hall. For Schaaf, who many believe will not face any significant challenge next year for re-election, the union’s web site is likely the closest she will come to hand-to-hand political combat over the next 12-14 months.