Oakland High School teachers participate in one-day, unsanctioned strike

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Despite warnings of facing disciplinary action, teachers walked off the job at Oakland High School Monday morning.

This is not a union-backed strike and school district officials warned that this is an illegal labor action and these teachers could face disciplinary action or loss of pay. But teachers ignored the warning, saying they wanted to show they are serious about fighting for better pay.

"The majority of our staff is here. Many students are here. It feels good, the power in numbers and whatnot, it's a good thing," said Oakland High Music Director David Byrd.

Those who decided to strike Monday marched from Oakland High to Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall, where they held a rally.

Senior Kimberly Wong decided to join them. "I really care about my teachers. They are passionate about their jobs. They stay until 7 p.m. to help me with college applications or to chit chat," she said.

District spokesperson John Sasaki says the current offer on the table is a 5 percent raise over three years. He says they would like to pay more but are facing a budget crisis.

These teachers say the district needs to cut at the district office.

"That takes money out of our classrooms and puts it into higher level leadership that is not directly impacting our students learning," says English teacher Lara Trale.

Sasaki says they have made cuts at the district office and have plans to do more.

The one-day walk out impacted classes at Oakland High. Sasaki said they couldn't find enough substitutes to cover all the teachers and had to consolidate some classes. He said some students were upset about the timing given that final exams are next week.

District officials have not yet decided whether to punish teachers for the walk out.

Lara Trale has tenure so she is not worried about ramifications but she does have her eye on new teachers and how they may be impacted.

"I am somewhat worried for our newer teachers but we will do what we can to protect them. They are great and we want to keep them in Oakland," she said.

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