Oakland teachers strike to continue Monday if no deal is made

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Sunday, May 7, 2023
Oakland teachers strike to continue Monday if no deal is made
As of Saturday night, there is still no deal and nothing being negotiated for Oakland educators from OUSD.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- With just 14 days of school left in Oakland, many are hoping that negotiations this weekend would get the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the Oakland Education Association (OEA) closer to a deal, and end the teacher strike that began on Thursday.

But as of Saturday night, there is still no deal and nothing being negotiated.

"It's still confusing. There are parts that are missing. There are lots of errors. There actually seems to be some regression," says Vilma Serrano, a co-chair of the OEA's bargain team, which is represents teachers.

The union says it received a new written proposal from OUSD on Friday night, which is different from the proposal the district sent on Wednesday. The union spent all day Saturday devising a counter offer.

"For P.E. teachers, it would be a class size reduction. One P.E. teacher would get 2 students. That would be great, if this were a personal training class. But that's not what our P.E. classes are," says Samia Khattab, an Oakland school teacher ,who is part of the OEA's 50-member bargaining team.

RELATED: Very little progress made between both sides on day 2 of Oakland teachers strike. Here's the latest

Day 2 of the Oakland teachers strike with little progress with each side pointing the finger about why they haven't returned to the bargaining table.

The bargaining team says the P.E. number should be 248 students - not 2. Khattab says such errors are raising concerns over efforts being put forth by OUSD.

"We need them to really take the time to analyze the work that they are putting forward to us," says Khattab.

The OEA says it hasn't met face-to-face with district's negotiating team since Tuesday.

The school district did not return requests for comment from ABC7 News, but it did issue a statement Saturday morning. It states that what's being offered is a historic $70 million for teacher salaries. It also highlights concessions made on teacher workload.

MORE: What are 'common good' demands? The reason behind deadlock in Oakland teacher strike negotiations

What are 'common good' demands? The key reason for the deadlock between Oakland Unified and the teachers' union in strike negotiations.

The deadlock now is over what are known as "common good proposals." These are issues that go beyond classroom learning, such as environmental justice, transportation or student homelessness.

The district argues that these are greater societal issues, which require partnerships with the state, county and city. And, that they are not mandatory to negotiate. Therefore, the school district hasn't given authorization to its teams to bargain on these points.

"We know that our working conditions are directly related to student's learning conditions," says Hilara Barajas, a teacher who is part of OEA's common good proposal team.

The union contends that common good is part of their comprehensive package - and won by other Bay Area and California school districts.

RELATED: Confusion at center of Oakland teachers strike as both sides refute claims

As Oakland teachers begin their strike Thursday, confusion and frustration still remain for both the union and the school district.

One example, California is investing heavily in community schools with more than $60 millions in funding on the line. The union claims, regarding community schools, an agreement on common good proposals is about accountability.

"So that all of us have a voice in how that money is being used. And that can be very threatening to people, in power. So, that, I think, is really the root of the struggle right now," explains Cory Jong, who is also on the OEA common good bargaining team.

The OEA says if there is no deal by Sunday, it will continue to strike on Monday.

More stories on the Oakland teacher strike here.

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