Teachers union, Oakland Unified fail to reach agreement to avoid strike

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Oakland School District and the teacher's union have left the negotiating table today ahead of tomorrow's strike and will return to try to reach a deal Friday morning.

It was the announcement that everyone anticipated but many had hoped not to hear.

OAKLAND TEACHER STRIKE: A closer look at the issues union, district are discussing

"This is an indefinite strike, this is not a one-day strike, but we want a short strike," said union president Keith Brown.

Brown also issued this statement:

"We received a bargaining proposal from the district, which our bargaining team has reviewed. While we believe this proposal continues to fall short of reinvesting in our schools at the levels our students deserve, our bargaining team has agreed to meet with the district's negotiators tomorrow morning to review it together and ask clarifying questions. We will bring you a bargaining update after the meeting. In the meantime stay united, and continue your preparations to walk the line for the schools our students deserve."

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Oakland educators announced in a press conference Wedneday that they will strike Thursday, and revisit the negotiating table with district officials Friday morning.

That decision came after both the union and Oakland Unified failed to reach an agreement Wednesday morning, despite a proposed salary increase.

The school district went from offering a five-percent hike over three years to the following:

  • A bonus of 1.5 percent of their base annual salary the first year of the contract.

  • A three-percent increase for 2018-2019

  • Followed by a 2 percent hike the following year

  • Added a fourth year increase of 1-percent the first 6 months then another 1-percent

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The total compensation package is 8.5 percent. But the teachers have been asking for a 12-percent increase over three years.

The union says it will resume talks on Friday at 9 a.m. hoping to agree on other issues like smaller class sizes and hiring more nurses and counselors. The school district hinted both sides could meet before that.

In the meantime, teachers like Donna Salonga began cleaning out their classrooms and removing their personal items.

"This is actually really hard to do. I already see like the lack of life in my classroom."

While teachers and other union members will be on the picket line, the school district is reminding parents all schools will remain open with a limited staff and an adjusted schedule.

"We will have staff there, we have our administrators there, we have central office staff there, emergency temporary teachers there," said John Sasaki with the Oakland Unified School District.

OAKLAND TEACHER STRIKE: Resources for parents here

If an agreement is not reached, the strike is set to start at 6 a.m. Thursday. Schools will be open and students will receive an unexcused absence if they are not in class.

The city of Oakland will also have 15 recreation centers which will be open as early as 8 a.m. for those parents who refuse to cross the picket line.

Teachers have also set up what they are calling solidarity schools where children can be dropped off and supervised if parents don't want them crossing the picket line.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the Oakland teacher strike.
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