OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Day two of the Oakland teachers strike with little progress being made to end it. Each side pointing the finger with much confusion about why they haven't returned to the bargaining table.
It started with a statement on Thursday by School Board President Mike Hutchinson stating that the teachers union abruptly stopped negotiating even though they were so close to finalizing a salary agreement.
"We want to continue negotiating. We don't want a strike, but they've left the table and they've broken discussions, not us," explained Hutchinson.
And on Friday, a small group of teachers showed up at his house as Hutchinson was in pajamas and drinking his morning coffee.
There, right in front us, a member of the teachers union bargaining team was on the phone assuring Hutchinson that they were at the table ready to negotiate.
One union member asked her, "Vilma, has our bargaining team been holding up negotiations?" To which Vilma responded, " Absolutely not, they have been in negotiations."
So, how can both sides say they are at the table, when they are clearly not meeting?
Hutchinson claims OUSD officials were, at some point, negotiating directly with the Interim President and Vice President of the union when a salary proposal was given to both of them. Instead of consulting with its own bargaining team, they walked away and called for a strike.
The interim president of the union flatly denied that claim.
"That's inaccurate. We got it...they sent it to us after the left at like, I don't know the time, at midnight or something. We never got it before," insisted Interim President, Ismael Armendariz.
The union says everyone, including the bargaining team now has that salary proposal, even though the union president admitted he hasn't had time to really digest the proposal.
Lyanne: "I'm confused. You're saying that you are at the table. They're saying they're at the table.
I'm confused. We're there. We have been there. Our team is there. There are 50 witnesses who are there, Our team has 50 members, assured Armendariz.
During Friday morning's surprise visit, union members told Hutchinson that the district was not at the table because they needed an authorization from him and the board.
"They've been authorized to negotiate. That's how we've been engaged in negotiations and there's no call from the school board necessary to continue negotiating. it's been authorized," said Hutchinson.
To clarify, Hutchinson told us the school district's bargaining team is not authorized to negotiate anything outside of the scope of the contract, like "Common Good" proposals. Why? He says, it would be fiscally irresponsible to add proposals the district cannot afford, especially given that Oakland Unified is still under receivership from the state.
More stories on the Oakland teacher strike here.
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