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As bargaining begins (again), Oakland teachers to “line the lake”

Lakeside Park

The Oakland school district administration and the union bargaining team return to the table again on Thursday to see if they can work out an agreement in these tense, post-contract imposition times.

To build momentum, on Wednesday the union plans to celebrate Day of the Teacher with a 3:30 p.m. rally along the north side of Lake Merritt (on Lakeshore, near Lakeside Park) and a march to the district office. I mean, what celebration would be complete without a school board meeting?

You can find the OEA flier, with more details about the event, here.

UPDATE: The OEA and OUSD put out a joint news release on bargaining with a decidedly hopeful note. You can read it here.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Katy Murphy

    Here’s a joint news release from the Oakland teachers union and district administration about Phase 2 of bargaining (attached as a pdf file in the above post):

    “In an act that reestablished the local collective bargaining process and effort, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the Oakland Education Association (OEA) met on Thursday, May 6. Both sides described the meeting as “productive” and affirmed a desire to resolve the current contract dispute. The parties agreed to schedule a meeting of both bargaining teams for Thursday, May 13. Subsequent meetings will be scheduled at that time, if necessary.

    The sides are trying to determine how OUSD might meet union needs given its current financial constraints and the enormous education cuts imposed by the lack of sufficient funding from the State of California. There is a shared recognition that a commitment to address key issues over time will provide the basis for a mutually agreeable settlement.

    OEA President Betty Olson-Jones welcomed the resumption of contract talks.

    “We have always been ready to work through the collective bargaining process to resolve the wide variety of concerns that face Oakland students, their teachers and this community! Quality public education is a right we want guaranteed for this city and each of its students,” Olson-Jones said. “Working with the district in a less adversarial and more productive manner is what our members want to set the proper teaching and learning conditions for our schools and classrooms. That, in essence, is what this contract resolution will help to provide.”

    OUSD Superintendent Tony Smith also greeted the new round of talks as an encouraging development.

    “We are committed to providing the conditions students need to achieve at higher levels and we recognize that our teachers deserve better teaching and working conditions and greater compensation,” Smith explained. “We’re determined to work with OEA over time to bring the pay of Oakland teachers in line with that of their Alameda County peers. Accomplishing this while cutting $85 million from the general fund this year and millions more in future years is a challenging task and it’s one we can achieve as we build our relationship into one characterized by trust, collaboration and mutual respect.”

    Citing the promising nature of last Thursday’s preliminary discussion, OUSD announced that it will stop recruiting substitute teachers to serve in the event of a strike, although, as a matter of protocol, it will finish processing those candidates already in the pipeline.

    Further updates will be provided as events dictate.”