The Oakland City Council made important progress at tonight’s July 11th full City Council Meeting, on independent community oversight of the police department, and supporting unions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Janus decision.
The City Council passed the Oakland Police Commission implementation Ordinance, which Councilmember Kaplan amended to address community concerns about its strength and independence. At the behest of a large number of speakers from a wide range of backgrounds, including members of the Police Commission and community advocates who had helped fight for its creation, Councilmember Kaplan had previously amended the proposed ordinance to ensure that the Inspector General would be truly independent, rather than being hired and fired by the City Administrator.
Councilmember Kaplan said: “I am happy that my colleagues passed a Police Commission enabling Ordinance with a truly independent Inspector General – to ensure that the voters’ intent of an independent Police Commission becomes a reality.”
City Council also passed Kaplan’s Resolution urging the City Administration to continue to work with public labor unions, post the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus case. Kaplan says:
“The Supreme Court ruled against the needs of workers to have effective representation, by issuing a ruling in the Janus case to overturn Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977). This action, by the Supreme Court that was stacked with a more right-wing majority by the blockade on President Obama’s last nominee, will weaken unions’ power to effectively negotiate on behalf of all public sector workers, including to promote policies that protect workers’ rights, fair wages, and safer working conditions.
Today, we see financial struggles rising, including personal bankruptcies and the number of unhoused people at an all-time high. Without the appropriate negotiation power to fight for worker protections, we may see these numbers climb higher and at a faster rate.
Also, it is important that people are able to afford to live in the cities in which they work, send their children to school, and have adequate healthcare and pensions available to them. That is why as the city-wide Councilmember in Oakland, and a life-long supporter of the rights of workers, I am thrilled that City Council passed my Resolution for the city to continue working with public sector unions to respond to the problems raised by the Janus decision.”
Rebecca Kaplan is Oakland’s 3-Term At-Large Councilmember