Oakland teacher’s union joins AFL-CIO

The teacher’s unions in Oakland, Fremont, Hayward and San Leandro — among others — have decided to stand with their trade union friends who sweep the floors, answer phones, help classroom teachers and build things.

afl-cio.jpgThe move to join the AFL-CIO was announced this afternoon. Sharon Cornu, of the Alameda Labor Council, tells me it will create more leverage for teachers and other employees in Oakland’s upcoming contract negotiations, and that the various groups of workers will now “speak with one voice.”

The Oakland Education Association is still a part of the National Education Association, but a recent agreement between the NEA and the AFL-CIO allowed local bargaining units to link directly to the mammoth union federation.

What difference do you think this affiliation will make in the way teachers and other workers are represented? Does everyone agree it’s a good idea? How do you think it will play into the contract negotiations?

image from daily.dose’s site at flickr.com/creativecommons

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    All workers of large organizations must have strong unions. It’s their only chance in dealing with the power, the often destructive behavior and the evil tendancies of large organizations.

    I’m hardly a socialist but I have seen companies order workers to their deaths and be protected by worker’s comp laws. I have seen companies trade the worker’s safety and health for momentary profit. I have seen companies ordering workers to commit crimes and lie to them about the significance of what they are being directed to do. The list goes on. The larger the employer nowadays the greater the tendency to screw the workers, not even for the good of the shareholders but for this years bonuses of the executives who will quit and move on before the chickens come home to roost.

    Worker’s Unite.

  • John

    A UNION of Bedfellow Contradiction:
    Here’s an Oakland Public Schools substitute story about substituting one OPS health plan retiree health plan charge for another to make a dishonest (?) buck. It’s really nothing more than a human disinterest story about old retired teachers with 20+ years of service being “rewarded” with a WRITTEN invitation from OPS to continue their OPS Health Plan participation (at their own expense).

    It is certainly reasonable that these honored “years of service qualified” OPS retirees would believe their special status participation in the district’s GROUP health plan would save them on health care costs. After all, it’s only natural to assume they would be paying an amount equal to what OPS pays for its active employees at the group rate, right?

    So when the OUSD’s started charging it’s valued retirees significantly MORE than what it was paying for its active employees the retirees were none the wiser and it seems OPS much the beneficiary. Wouldn’t this be a sneaky disgusting way to subsidize district health care costs!? But then getting screwed only hurts when you know you’re getting screwed! In fact if the victim doesn’t know some might say it’s almost humane.
    When I inadvertently learned I was paying above and beyond what the district pays for its active employees I converted to a private health plan, as is legally permitted without risking coverage loss. I am now paying less (for equal services) than I was paying as an appreciated GOUGED (20+ year) OPS RETIREE.
    When I addressed this issue with the teachers union (OEA) & OPS I was told by an OEA Executive Director that, “As a matter of fact, the OEA does not even negotiate the rates for active members.” The OPS State administrator wrote, “These rates are part of the collective bargaining agreement.” Oh well, I guess you can’t fight city hall and the union hall when you’re squished between the contradiction of such prominent bedfellows.
    To struggling young OPS teachers and substitutes: DON’T let yourself become an old retired Oakland teacher and VICTIM of district gratitude for your many years of dedicated service. Get some OPS experience and GET THE HELL OUT!

    To Oakland parents: What kind of message does this send to current OPS teachers about making a long term commitment to your children? (See previous paragraph)

    To Katy I say: Union representation, like media coverage, is selective.

  • freecato

    This is a good deal for the union members, and a lousy deal for students and parents. A stronger union means that parents and school administrators have less say in what and how their children are taught. It also means that the unions will have more power to shut down our schools and hold us hostage to thier demands for more of our money. Union rules on teacher promotions and work rules are ruining our schools. It’s time to get the unions out of our schools – there’s no reason why teachers and other school employees can’t compete for those jobs just as in other industries. At the very least, the right to strike should be eliminated, and replace with binding arbitration.