Oakland teachers union begins strike vote

Teachers, counselors, nurses and other members of the Oakland Education Association (OEA) on Monday began voting on whether to authorize a strike, as the union cited what it called "illegal, bad faith bargaining" by the district.

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On Friday, the union’s interim president Ismael Armendariz called on "every single OEA member" to cast a vote, urging his members to authorize a strike. 

Armendariz said, "Our members deserve a livable wage. Our students deserve the service they need to be successful." And he accused the district's bargaining team of negotiating in bad faith. "They’ve canceled sessions and given unserious proposals," Armendariz said. 

It's a claim that the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) disputed, saying it remained engaged in negotiations with the union.

"We are committed to reaching an agreement this school year," the district shared in a post on Facebook on Friday.

OUSD officials did acknowledge, "We can't do everything proposed," but said that the district's top priority was to provide educators with raises.

"OUSD’s proposed compensation package would mean teachers in Oakland will, for the first time in decades, be paid higher than the average salary for educators in our region," the district said in an update on the labor negotiations, adding, "Our teachers deserve it!"

The last contract between OEA and the district expired in October.