Large turnout at rally for Oakland teachers, strike likely next week

At a Wednesday rally, Oakland teachers were fired up because they now have a clearer pathway to settle or strike. With 88% of teachers voting to strike, the Oakland Education Association union, says it is still hoping for a settlement.

But, the union has had three affirmative strike votes in the last year, held a one-day walkout last month over compensation, and said on Wednesday, a strike could come as early as next week. 

"We're not making progress at this point right now. This is why we're at this point. But, we are still continuing to bargain, and we are still hoping to settle at the table," said Oakland Education Association Bargaining Chief Vilma Serrano. 

The superintendent sees it this way: "While I deeply support our teachers and other educators system-wide, and would love to provide them with all the things they asked for at the table, we have to prioritize our resources," said Oakland Schools Superintendent Kyla Johnson Trammell.

While the union has a lot of parental support, a growing number of parents are not strike supporters. "Our kids cannot read. Our kids cannot do math. We were struggling with our kids' outcome before the pandemic and we are still on a long road to recovery and cannot afford any learning disruption," said parent and OUSD REACH founder Lakisha Young. "It's very frustrating as a parent because we've just come off pandemic, zoom classes. My kids lost so much learning from that time and they're just now starting to catch up," said parent Justine Nguyen.

Even though the district is saying it will do everything possible to avoid a work stoppage, time is running out. "We have about, what? Three or four weeks of school? Do you know what happens in May besides proms and graduation? We have AP exams coming up. We have our spring assessment. Those assessments tell us how our kids are recovering," said Young.

The Oakland Unified School District, which had filed for an injunction before the Public Employees Relations Board, was denied and so, a strike could happen." We do an internal investigation and an assessment to see whether the legal standard is met. And, the Board ultimately decides whether to grant of deny the request," said J. Felix Delatorre, Public Employment Relations Board General Counsel. "We have reason to believe that if the union moves forward with a strike it will happen next week during the first week of May," said Superintendent Trammell.

The union says it's ready to set a solid strike date, which would idle 34,000 students and send their families scrambling for food, activities and services for their children normally supplied at school.         


Oakland Unified teachers vote to authorize strike

Oakland Unified teachers on Tuesday voted in favor of striking over several reasons, including unfair labor practices and wages.