It is now Day One of the 2023 Oakland Unified School District teachers’ strike, and schools are still open, but attendance is sparse as teachers are out on the picket lines
Teachers at the Oakland Unified School District last went on strike in 2019, and now just four years later, the 3,000 teachers and faculty of the Oakland Education Association are officially on strike again as of Wednesday night, according to KTVU. That 2019 strike lasted seven days, and apparently did not produce good long-term results for the teachers’ union, as KPIX reports that Oakland teachers remain the “lowest paid in the Bay Area.”
And as the Chronicle points out, there are only three weeks left in the school year at Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).
Thousands of Oakland teachers are on strike today after days of marathon contract negotiations failed to result in a deal. OUSD has called a 10:30 news conference to respond. Live reports coverage all day on @KCBSRadio. pic.twitter.com/T7I3koK3jz— Mike DeWald (@mike_dewald) May 4, 2023
Oakland Education Association (OEA) president Ismael Armendariz told KTVU that the Oakland school board is "neglecting their duty," and that "the district and the union have been having productive conversations, but the school board has failed to give their chief negotiator the authority to bargain with us."
Last-minute negotiations broke down Wednesday night. According to the Chronicle, district officials announced at around 9 p.m. that the two sides could not reach an agreement, and the strike was on just a few weeks before summer vacation. The district said in a Wednesday night statement, “The end of the school year is always filled with milestone events for our students, so we want to ensure regular school resumes as soon as possible.”
Educators from all over Oakland are on strike due to OUSD’s bad faith bargaining, which denies our schools supports for student mental health, improved services for students with disabilities, school safety and teachers who can stay in Oakland. 💚✏️💛 #Unite4OaklandStudents pic.twitter.com/XqewNyaIfS— Oakland Education Association (@OaklandEA) May 4, 2023
The union is asking for a 23% raise for all teachers and staff (nurses, counselors, etc.). The district has countered with a 22% raise offer, but it would not apply across the board, and some teachers would have to increase their instructional time to get additional raises and benefits.
KTVU adds the teachers are also asking for “six ‘restorative days’ to combat burnout,” the ending of the Oakland school closures, and subsidized student transportation, among other demands.
A nearly empty bus pulls up to Sankofa Elementary as striking Oakland teachers picketed out front pic.twitter.com/ZmC0jLvTxn— Jill Tucker (@jilltucker) May 4, 2023
There are about 34,000 students enrolled in OUSD, and schools are open today. But the Chronicle's report notes that attendance was looking sparse on Thursday morning. District office staffers are largely running the classrooms, though there doesn't seem to be much instruction taking place, and it’s essentially glorified childcare for the low numbers of students showing up.
Oakland’s teachers began an open-ended strike today over salaries, class sizes and other issues. Follow @jilltucker for more: https://t.co/ykhzzuAo2F— Heather Knight (@hknightsf) May 4, 2023
Meanwhile, San Francisco teachers could be next. Spotted this protest outside Dolores Huerta Elementary this morning. pic.twitter.com/nLjjdELE0p
Oh, and on top of this, the San Francisco Unified School District teachers are also threatening to strike and disrupt the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, over their still-ongoing payroll fiasco and other workplace complaints.
Image: @DSAEastBay via Twitter