Back at the bargaining table: Teachers' strike continues in Union City

Teachers, parents and students stood outside the Alameda County Education Office holding signs and rallying as many cars passing by honked horns.

Their Friday night lights were candles of hope, as negotiations between the teachers union and the New Haven Unified School District continued well past 11 p.m..

"We are hopeful that what comes out of this will be good," said Joe Ku'e Angeles, President of the New Haven Teachers Association.

Negotiations resumed at 10 a.m. Friday with the full bargaining teams joining in at 1:30 p.m. Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle also helped bring the sides together.

Teachers went on strike Monday saying they needed more than the 1% pay hike, and 3% one time bonus that the district had proposed. 

Large rallies and picketing sent a strong message to those at the bargaining table inside Friday night. The union president says small discussions between the two sides had been a game changer.

"Informal discussions to get us back to the table really helped the mood swing," said Angeles. 

Students who joined the rally said the disruption has been difficult coming at the end of their senior year.

"Very stressful because we haven't been in the classroom for a whole week and finals are coming up next week so it's going to be tough," said Ignacio Rodriguez, Logan High School Senior 

"Today was the day there was supposed to be a dance concert that usually we do at school and since the strike's going on it got canceled," said Emirose Sebastian, a Logan High School senior.

"We're supposed to be getting closer to graduation but instead we have to deal with this situation," said Andreea Dan, another Logan High School senior.

The district spokesman John Mattos says the superintendent wants to reach a deal, but must face fiscal realities.

"As much as our teachers deserve it. We are declining enrollment district. We've got some increased fiscal pressures. No matter what happens were cutting money next year for 2021," said Mattos. 

Students say the strike has been a learning experience.

"I'm very sympathic, empathetic to my teachers cause they helped me out through a tough time," said Alex Hughes, a Logan High School Senior.

"Our school district is called New Haven Unified and we can see that it's not the superintendent and admins that make up New Haven Unified but it's us," said Manny Fuentes, a Logan High School Senior.

"Trying to figure out grades for students especially our graduating seniors so they are not suffering any harm as a result of this," said Mattos. 

The district says student attendance dropped to about 9% Friday, but the district will not lose state funding because it is so late in the year. 

The last day of school is June 13th and Mattos says whatever happens, there will be a graduation ceremony.