Oakland teachers will continue striking Friday

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Friday, February 22, 2019
Oakland teachers on strike
Oakland teachers are calling for higher wages to address the higher cost of living in the area.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A strike by Oakland Unified School District's 3,000 teachers began Thursday as the teachers' union calls for higher wages to address the higher cost of living in the area.

Thursday night in a 5:30 p.m. press conference, the union announced teachers will return to the picket lines, continuing their strike, at 6:30 a.m. Friday.

"Strikes are won in the streets, not at the negotiating table," said union president Keith Brown.

85 percent of Oakland teachers were on the picket lines Thursday, Brown added.

Oakland teachers have been working without a contract since 2017. They want a 12 percent raise over three years.

VIDEO: ABC7's Anser Hassan talks to teachers, supporters at Oakland Tech

Oakland teachers are officially on strike and ABC7's Anser Hassan was at Oakland Tech on Thursday, talking to teachers, students and other officials.

The district is offering a compensation package, accounting to 8.5 percent over four years.

OAKLAND TEACHER STRIKE: Here's what you need to know

Now teachers are on the picket line.

Teachers started picketing at Oakland Tech around 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Some students did come to school., but the classrooms are mostly empty.

Teachers say Thursday is just the beginning.

VIDEO: ABC7's Amy Hollyfield talks to teachers, supporters, lawmakers at Manzanita School

Amy Hollyfield reports from Manzanita School as Oakland teachers go on strike Thursday.

On day one of the Oakland teacher strike, teachers say now is the time to send a message. "We are here to send a message that things aren't OK. And they haven't been OK for a very long time," said science teacher Shannon Brandon.

The district is committing to reducing class sizes by 1 percent. The district is also offering teachers an 8.5 percent pay increase.

Teachers are demanding 12 percent over three years.

But teacher Katie Bailey says it's the issues that weren't discussed that caused talks to collapse. "They didn't address school closure. They didn't address any kind of limit to charter schools, they didn't address the nursing shortage. It is something like 22 nurses to 37,000 students," said Bailey.

OAKLAND TEACHER STRIKE: Resources for parents here

Student Corinna Basth brought brought bagels for the teachers on strike. Basth says she wants the district to understand that students feel neglected, too. "I do feel neglected. Think there is a lot more they can be doing to support our education. And they are not doing it. I am not happy with that district," she said.

Teachers Thursday said they feel motivated by teacher strikes in other parts of the country -- like last month in Los Angeles -- giving them the courage to take a stand.

"The district was making false promises and empty promises. And things weren't changing. It was more so baiting us for a long time. And finally, we realized it's not going to happen. So we need to stand up," Brandon said.

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Teachers will continue with a rally at City Hall. They plan to be back out Friday morning.

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