Business

Oakland council delays decision on 222-unit West Oakland development near BART

Citing environmental concerns, Oakland City Council on Tuesday again pushed back its decision on Golden West, an eight-story complex that would provide 222 housing units with ground floor retail and work space across from the West Oakland BART Station, at 1396 Fifth St.  The project has already been delayed for over a year. After the Planning Commission unanimously approved it in March 2021, it was brought before City Council in September when East Bay Residents for Responsible Development, a coalition…

What’s next for workers, city after century-old foundry announces move to Texas?

AB&I Foundry, one of the largest industrial sources of air pollution in Oakland, announced plans last week to cease operations at its century-old plant and move to an existing facility in Tyler, Texas.  The closure, beginning in June, will cut 200 jobs and comes just weeks after two lawsuits were filed in Alameda County Superior Court accusing the company of spewing excessive levels of a carcinogen into East Oakland’s air.  “I am really scared for our community and what impact…

East Oakland foundry pollution spurs two lawsuits to protect community

The state of California and an Oakland-based environmental group are suing the pipe casting facility AB&I Foundry for reportedly emitting excessive levels of a carcinogenic chemical into East Oakland’s air.  Both lawsuits, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, accuse the foundry of violating California’s Proposition 65 — a law requiring businesses to warn people about significant exposures to harmful chemicals. The state’s lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Rob Bonta on Feb. 15, states that McWane Inc. operating as AB&I Foundry,…

Tech startup poses threat to Oakland’s century-old Produce Market

Between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., a swarm of clerks, bosses, and jobbers crowd the intersection of Third and Franklin streets in Oakland. They stack boxes of food for pickup — ginger from China and lettuce from Texas. From the dim light emerge chefs and grocers who greet the sellers, squeeze a few avocados, and load their trucks.  This ritual has occurred at the Oakland Produce Market six days a week for a hundred years. It is a spot of…

Oakland renters get choice of internet providers under new law

Renters in Oakland’s apartment buildings now have more control over their choice of internet service provider, a choice that San Francisco renters have had since 2016 and one that the Federal Communications Commission is currently addressing.  The Internet Choice Ordinance was unanimously approved by the Oakland City Council in October and went into effect for tenants in January. It broadens ISP options for renters in buildings with four or more residences by prohibiting landlords from restricting tenants to a single…

Woodwork, glassware, metal pieces, leather: Annual GIFTY market returns for holiday shopping

Christa Cesario picks out a pair of colorful, handmade wooden earrings and holds them up to her ear.  “I came to buy a gift for my mom, and ended up buying one for myself,” she says. Cesario is among thousands of people who are expected to visit The Crucible’s annual GIFTY Craft Show & Open House this weekend in Oakland. The 56,000-square-foot industrial artists’ space is hosting approximately 70 artists, including woodworkers, glassblowers, beadmakers, neon artists, metalworkers, and leatherworkers, many…

Union members walk out of Kaiser Permanente to support engineers on strike for 62 days

More than 40,000 Kaiser employees and members of three local unions walked out at 21 Kaiser hospitals across Northern California on Thursday in support of striking stationary engineers.  On Friday, the California Nurses Association will follow suit. “Every single worker in our health care system, including the engineers who are on strike, deserve to have fair working conditions and a union contract,” said Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, who came to show solidarity with the International Union of…

The lights are on but flickering at Video Room, where you can still rent movies and chat with cinephiles

One of the  last video rental stores in Oakland runs on a hope, a prayer and an infusion of cash from owner Joseph Lum’s retirement savings.  Close to 40,000 DVDs line the narrow shelves at Video Room, which Lum opened in 1983 on Broadway and College Avenue but was forced to downsize — three locations later — to a storefront on Piedmont Avenue. That the business has survived the rise and fall of corporate video stores, the advent of Netflix…

UPDATE: Kaiser Permanente meets with striking engineers and mediators

As the strike of stationary and biomedical engineers stretched into a 36th day, the union and employer Kaiser Permanente engaged in mediation Friday that ended without an agreement. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39 told members around 5:30 p.m. that the session had ended with little headway made. While the sides agreed to continue with the federal mediator, a new session has not yet been scheduled. A day earlier, outside Kaiser Permanente headquarters in Oakland, striking hospital employees…