Oakland teachers plan to strike over school closures

Oakland teachers voted to go on a one-day strike at the end of the week. 

Members of the Oakland Education Association voted to authorize a strike to send a message it disapproves of school closures that impact Black and brown neighborhoods.

"Our students need investments not school closures," said Keith Brown, the president Oakland Education Association.

On Sunday, Brown said members authorized an "unfair labor practice strike" against the Oakland Unified School District for closing and merging schools. 

He said they also violated an agreement that would require no less than one year of engagement with stakeholders before making a decision to close a school.

"There is an agreement we have with the Oakland Unified School District that there must be a year of engagement before making such a decision," Brown said. 

MORE: Starving for a cause: Oakland educators on day 8 of hunger strike to oppose school closures

This vote follows months of protests, rallies, even a hunger strike that lasted 18 days.

In an email, the OUSD’s Chief Governance Officer, Joshua R. Daniels, warned the union against striking.

"There is no legal basis for any concerted activity that would justify a strike or refusal to perform services benefiting district students," Daniels wrote. 

The letter said a strike would be unlawful and would have a significant impact on students. 

Part of the letter reads, "Even the threat of again depriving students of instruction, let alone an actual deprivation, especially without legal justification, will only further hurt students."

Brown said closing schools is what hurts students.

"The district illegally closed schools… in Black and brown neighborhoods," said Brown.

District officials also say its primary source of revenue comes from attendance, and a strike will cost OUSD funding.

Teachers plan to picket at the school sites Friday morning. There will also be community actions throughout the day.