No End in Sight for Oakland Teachers Strike

The Oakland Unified teachers strike entered its sixth day Thursday, with just two weeks left of the academic year. Although schools remain open, few families are crossing the picket line and some important year-end events have been canceled.

The biggest sticking point in negotiations between OUSD and the Oakland Education Association isn’t pay or working conditions, but rather a set of “common good” demands. These include reparations for black students, housing for homeless families, and environmental efforts like drought-resistant trees. 

The district, which has offered pay raises of up to 22%, says the common good demands would cost $1 billion. Extraneous social issues should be discussed separately and not formally included in the labor contract, school officials argue. 

OAE’s insistence on including common good items makes this strike different from previous walkouts. It’s part of a growing trend of unions using their clout to affect broader change. 

What also makes this strike unique and particularly painful for students is the timing. It comes on the heels of a pandemic that took away two formative school years and just before the Class of 2023 is set to graduate.

“The group of 2,700 experienced a seven-day strike in eighth grade, spent the last part of ninth grade and all of 10th at home remote learning and now are stuck in a waiting game at home, without access to grades, college counseling, class work or their teachers,” the San Francisco Chronicle’s Jill Tucker explains.  

The two sides seemed no closer to breaking the stalemate Thursday. The prior evening, OUSD’s school board canceled its regular board meeting — a move that underscored the district’s leadership failures, according to OAE.  



Thursday, March 28, 2024 - 09:07

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