Oakland teachers' union reaches deal with OUSD in contract negotiations; students to return

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Monday, May 15, 2023
Oakland teachers, OUSD reach contract deal; students to return
Oakland Education Association says a tentative agreement has been reached with OUSD concerning the teachers' strike, which has now been called off.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland Education Association says a tentative agreement has been reached with Oakland Unified School District concerning the teachers' strike, which has now been called off.

This comes after seven days of striking amid contract negotiations.

"Our collective power forced OUSD to commit to living wages for educators, more resources in our schools, enforceable working conditions and common good issues for our students & their families," OEA said in a tweet early Monday morning.

Union members spent hours reviewing the final draft of the contract and made the announcement around 3 a.m.

OEA is declaring victory with regard to their Common Good goals, saying the tentative agreement includes assistance for unhoused students, shared governance and resources for black thriving community schools.

VIDEO: OUSD superintendent details tentative agreement in teachers' strike

OUSD's superintendent detailed the historic tentative agreement reached between OUSD and Oakland teachers that put an end to the teachers' strike.

"Today we reached an agreement to raise our our compensation by 15% including a historic collapse of our salary structure," OEA President Ismael Armendariz said. "We added teacher librarians, more counselors and more mental health services to our schools and to our students."

The tentative agreement still has to be voted on by OEA members.

With the common good proposal already agreed upon in over the weekend, the district says their historic compensation package for union employees over the next three years will cost around $70 million.

District leaders say it comes with a 10% raise for all union employees retroactive to Nov. 1 of last year and a one-time $5,000 bonus, but it also comes with investments for students, like more teacher librarians, counselors, nurses and visual and performing arts teachers.

VIDEO: How Oakland teacher pay stacks up to CA, Bay Area salaries

Oakland teachers on strike as of Thursday are among the lowest paid in Alameda County. Here's a breakdown of how salaries compare across the Bay Area and the state.

"Mental health isn't an add-on, it's an absolute necessity, given what we're seeing students bringing into the classroom and it's way too much for educators on their own to handle," Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District said.

But Johnson-Trammell says, to pay for it all, the board may have to have some tough conversations further down the road about things such as revisiting the school consolidation plan.

"We all know at the end of the day, the math needs to make sense right," she said. "So those are going to have to be some hard conversations in terms of what options that the board is going to have to make some tough decisions about."

OUSD Board Member Sam Davis says he hopes the changes to the salary schedule will help with teacher retention.

"That was making teachers leave Oakland, because they wanted to go to another district where they could get to that top salary faster so we shortened that and added extra amounts to the salary schedule so that way we could incentivize teachers to stay in Oakland, which is where we want them to be," Davis said.

RELATED: How similar is the Oakland teachers strike to others in Chicago and Los Angeles?

Although schools were open on Monday, it was an optional planning day for teachers, and students will be welcomed back for their first full day of instruction since the strike starting on Tuesday.

But some parents like Reginald Mosley, who crossed the picket line to drop his kids off at school all seven days of the strike says, the strike could have been avoided on the heels of the pandemic.

"It's very frustrating, one day is too many," Mosley said.

And now, with just eight days left in the school year, he's worried about even more learning loss.

"They have lost their momentum, and they lost their drive, that's very important, so you have kids going in a certain direction and then all of the sudden just stopped for seven days?" he said. "They don't have the drive to keep going or pick up and keep going."

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