Oakland teachers approve new contract ending 7-day strike

ByLuz Pena KGO logo
Monday, March 4, 2019
Oakland teachers approve new contract ending 7-day strike
Oakland educators will head back to their classrooms after voting to ratify a new contract that includes an 11 percent salary increase for teachers, plus a one-time 3 percent bonus.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland Teacher have ratified a new contract. On Sunday, more than 3,000 educators gathered at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland during a four hours meeting to vote.

"We have a contract that begins to address the teacher retention crisis. We have a contract that brings in more resources for our students and more student support," said OEA's President Keith Brown.

After 7 days in the picket lines, 64 percent of Oakland Educators voted "yes" for the 2017 and 2018 contract and 58 percent also approved the 2020 and 2021 contract terms. They needed a simple majority to move forward.

RELATED: Oakland teacher's message to students: 'I am striking for them'

"Oakland educators look forward to returning to the classrooms tomorrow," said Brown.

The agreement includes an 11 percent salary increase over four years with a one-time 3 percent bonus. A decrease in class sizes and a cap on caseloads and psychologist, nurses and school counselors.

"We feel like it's an incremental step towards where we want to be... this is just the first step of very many," said Oakland teacher Lusa Lai.

Outside of the Paramount Theater several teachers urged union members to wait for a better contract and vote against it.

RELATED: Oakland school board member apologizes after video shows hand on teacher's throat at picket line

"I would categorize it as a complete sell-out of teachers. It doesn't address one of the worse issues which is the closing of 24 public schools around Oakland," said, Oakland teacher Evan Hudson.

The teacher's union's president agreed that this deal hasn't fixed the concerns over school closures.

"Put a pause on school closures for a 5-month pause. We are going to look into creating a committee who can bring multiple stake holders but we did want much more," said OEA's President Keith Brown.

In a statement OUSD said, "It goes without saying that this strike was very difficult for our community. That being said, it's clear how much we all value our teachers. We are pleased that the members of OEA ratified the contract, which is an important step toward greater investment in our classrooms. Of course, we must thank State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond and State Assembly Member, Rob Bonta for the critical roles they played in facilitating the agreement. And we appreciate the students, families and all our community partners for helping us reach this resolution."

See more stories and videos related to the Oakland teacher strike.