The Oakland Ed Week in Review Special Edition: 7 Days of OEA Strike

Today – Friday, May 12 – the Oakland Education Association (OEA) teacher strike reached its seventh day. To help our readers better understand what’s been going on with negotiations, and also get some insight into how students and families are feeling about all of this as well, we’re giving you a day-by-day breakdown in a special edition of The Oakland Ed Week in Review. Usually we take a look outside of Oakland to include news from the state and nation. This week, the focus is all about The Town. What did we miss? Any stories or quotes that caught your eye? Hit us up in the comments! (Photo credit: San Jose Mercury News)


Oakland teachers strike begins after contract negotiations fail
The Oakland Education Association teachers union began a strike Thursday morning, after seven months of unsuccessful contract negotiations with Oakland Unified School District. The strike is impacting 34,000 OUSD students and comes with three weeks remaining in the school year, which ends May 25.
OEA members began picketing around 7 a.m. in front of the district’s 80 schools, in response to deadlocked negotiations with the district over issues like pay, hours, and other working conditions.
Read the article by Gisselle Medina and Ashley McBride of The Oaklandside

Confusion at center of Oakland teachers strike as both sides refute claims
The district says what is on the table is a historic $70 million offer. It includes a retroactive 10% raise, a $5,000 one-time bonus and a 13% raise for all teachers – up to 22% for some.
“My team has thoughtfully planned out a way and offered recommendations to make sure the district can afford this massive compensation package to maintain financial stability in the years to come,” says Dr. Johnson-Trammell.
The problem is that the Oakland Education Association, or the OEA, claims it’s not an official proposal.
“The last proposal I’ve seen was three days ago. And that excluded a lot of our members. So, from where we are standing, that is the proposal, to exclude our members and not provide our students with resources,” says Ismael Armendariz, interim president of the Oakland Education Association.
Read the article by J.R. Stone and Anser Hassan of ABC7


Oakland Parents Brace for Possible Second Week of Teachers Strike
Oakland schools remain open without any classes, but some parents are keeping their kids home instead of sending them to school.
“We are keeping them home in support of teachers and OEA members. Again, we are not crossing picket lines with our kiddos,” said Tahnee Camacho, an OUSD parent. 
For now, those students get to sleep in. But there are only 14 days left in this school year.
Read the article by Thom Jensen of NBC Bay Area

What are ‘common good’ demands? The reason behind deadlock in Oakland teacher strike negotiations
“There are items outside the scope of the contract of what we are required to negotiate. The school board has not authorized negotiators to go outside of that scope,” said Mike Hutchinson, OUSD School Board President, at a press conference on Thursday.
Currently, the six-member school board is split on common good. Some are concerned about giving up too much power or being bound to projects they can’t afford. Bachelor argues they can codify language in the contract to protect the district and not impact its ability to govern, such as through contingencies based on staffing or funding.
Read the article by Anser Hassan of ABC7

DAY 3 

How similar is the Oakland teachers strike to others in Chicago and Los Angeles?
UC Berkeley Labor Center Chair Ken Jacobs has been closely following the situation.
“I think this strike really follows the pattern that we’ve been seeing with teachers really for a decade now starting with the Chicago Teachers Union,” said Jacobs.
He says that the Chicago union also pushed for broader demands in addition to teacher pay to benefit students and communities. This is also something that Los Angeles teachers recently pushed for and won. Shared governance at schools was a major demand.
Read the article by J.R. Stone of ABC7

After School Programs Step Up While Oakland Teachers Strike
Out of 35,000 students, the district said only around 1,400 went to school on Monday.
“It’s important to learn so you can get your education and go to college,” said Harlie, 2nd grade OUSD student. 
High schoolers like Selina Villaseñor are now on standby, waiting to see what the rest of their senior year will look like. 
“A lot of us have AP tests, we have finals, so it’s a bit stressful because we understand why the teachers are going on strike, but at the same time it’s like, where does that put us seniors?” she said.
Read the article by Velena Jones of NBC Bay Area


Oakland teacher strike grinds on; Parents seek seat at bargaining table
Now parents like Johnson are starting to ask for more transparency in the negotiations as the stalemate looks like it will continue into a fifth day.
“We’re hearing this he-said, she-said. The district did this, the union did this. We have no idea what’s going on,” said Johnson. “Everybody says everybody else is lying, so how can that be true? Unless everybody’s lying.”
Read the article by Katie Nielson of CBS Bay Area

Students are on day four of the Oakland teachers strike — when can they go back to school?
Many students, like Karigaca and Chung, are spending their time studying for their AP tests and finishing up their final projects. Parè is filling out applications for college scholarships, and working on his end-of-year homework. And others have stepped in to fill teachers’ gaps — 16-year-old Oakland student Ra’Mauri Cash, for example, is tutoring freshmen students in algebra over video chat.
“It’s been a little rough, but we’re managing,” said Cash. “And I support the strike because our teachers have always supported us.”
Read the article by Elissa Miolene of The San Jose Mercury News

DAY 5 

Oakland teachers strike pushes into fifth day; rally scheduled outside school board meeting
While the district has still provided childcare at the schools with its non-mandatory modified school days supervised by school office staff, some parents have opted for alternate means of child supervision, like dropping their kids off at Diamond Park to be watched by high schoolers.
“We’re willing to be out here until there’s a tentative agreement between both parties,” said Maureen Whalen, a second-grade teacher at Thornhill Elementary. “This is the fourth bargaining cycle in my educational career in Oakland, and history keeps repeating itself. I don’t feel we’re taken seriously until we’re pushed to something like this.”
Read the article by Austin Turner and Elissa Miolene of The San Jose Mercury News

Emotions boil over between parents, picketers during Day 5 of Oakland teachers’ strike
Several parents also shared their frustration over the ongoing strike, saying they’ve chosen to send their kids back to school.
“On Monday, there were so many kids, they had to split into three classrooms,” parent Maryann Kongovi said. “Every single day, it’s more and more families.”
Read the article by Amanda del Castillo and Anser Hassan of ABC7


Oakland Teachers Picket Outside OUSD Construction Site on Day 6 of Strike
Oakland teachers picketed outside the construction site of OUSD’s new $57 million administrative center under construction on Union Street Thursday, arguing that the money should instead be going toward classroom repairs.
The district’s wage proposal on the table includes a 10% retroactive raise and a $5,000 one-time bonus for union members. It also provides every teacher with a raise of at least 13% and as much as 22%.
Read the article by Kathleen Kirkwood of NBC Bay Area

OUSD parent launches ‘Solidarity School’ as ongoing teachers’ strike reaches day 6
Meanwhile, some parents not willing to cross the picket line, but still looking for something educational to do, went to the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, where admission is free for any student impacted by the strike.
“Just trying to get out of the house,” said Oskar Wade, a 6th grade OUSD student.
Read the article by Amanda del Castillo and Lena Howland of ABC7


Oakland Teachers Strike to Continue Into Seventh Day Friday
Talks between striking Oakland teachers and the Oakland Unified School District continue, but as of late Thursday night, no agreement has been reached — meaning Friday will be the teachers’ seventh day on the picket lines.
School district officials made the announcement Thursday night, adding they are “always hopeful that a deal is imminent” as negotiations continue.
Read the article from NBC Bay Area

Oakland teachers start week 2 of strike over community issues like homelessness, mental health
There is no end in sight for the strike by 3,000 educators, counselors and other workers in the Oakland Unified School District, who say the district has failed to bargain in good faith on a new three-year contract that also makes more traditional demands like higher salaries. Other common good demands include providing more mental health support, fixing deteriorating schools, and offering subsidized transportation for low-income students.
Read the article by Olga R. Rodriguez of The Associated Press

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