Oakland Unified teachers to stage walkout Friday; district threatening legal action

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland teachers voted over the weekend to stage a one-day district-wide strike this coming Friday, to protest what they say are unfair labor practices over school closures. OUSD is threatening legal action as parents scramble for ways to cope.

"The teachers of Oakland together with the community will be going on a one-day ULP strike this Friday, April 29," president of the Oakland Education Association Keith Brown said.

75% of OUSD teachers voted to walk out Friday in the continuing showdown over closing or merging some schools this summer. They say its a civil rights issue and a one day unfair labor practice strike sends a message.

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OUSD responded with a letter to the Oakland Education Association, demanding that OEA "immediately cease and desist from moving forward with this strike," adding that a one-day strike would hurt the district financially.

The district has said upcoming school closures are rooted in financial woes. The teachers contend the the district is violating an agreement made during the last strike three years ago. They say they will be actively picketing schools districtwide come Friday morning.

"We are encouraging families if they can to keep their kids at home," Brown said.

Parents at schools not slated for closure said they'd support keeping their kids out of school Friday.

Briana Ohene-Owen, mom of a 3rd grader, said, "I am definitely in support of the teachers and he will be staying home on Friday "

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"It's going to show that we as parents have a say so in school closures," one supportive parent said.

While some parents fully support the strike, others are worried about what they'll do, with many of them back at offices post-pandemic. Father Max Orozco said he intends to take his 4th grader to work. "We can also have a sick day. Many employers do allow a sick day. It could be another way to support the teachers and support this strike," he said.

A rally is also scheduled at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater at 11 a.m. Friday. As of late Monday, district has not said how they will handle a strike, but said they may consider seeking an injunction to block the strike from the Public Employee Relations Board.

OUSD says it will be an excused absence for students. Meanwhile the OEA hopes OUSD changes their minds on closing schools.

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