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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Schools in Bay Area district open despite 3,000-plus teacher strike

More than 3,000 teachers and other workers in the Oakland Unified School District went on strike Thursday, saying the district failed to bargain in good faith on a new contract that asks for more resources for students and higher pay for employees.

Schools would remain open for the roughly 34,000 students enrolled in the San Francisco Bay Area district, administrators said.

The teachers union, the Oakland Education Association, called a strike late Wednesday.

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“Oakland’s teachers are the lowest paid in the Bay Area and have not had a new contract since prior to the pandemic,” the union said in a statement. “Meanwhile, rising inflation and a steep rise in the cost of rent in the fast-gentrifying city is making it impossible for educators — especially new teachers at the bottom of the salary scale making $52,905 per year — to afford rent.”

Oakland city hall

The Oakland Education Association, the union representing teachers in Alameda County, California’s largest school district, has gone on strike. The Oakland Unified School District claims schools remain open to students despite the absence of over 3,000 faculty members. (Google Maps )

The district is the second-largest school district in the Bay Area, where rents and housing prices have skyrocketed in recent years. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland is more than $2,500, according to Rent Cafe.

Earlier, the district had expressed optimism in a Facebook post that they could reach an agreement.

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“After six full days and nights of contract negotiations with the Oakland Education Association (OEA), we believe that a deal with our Teachers’ Union is within reach,” it said.

The district announced in a press release that all schools will remain open and school-provided meals will be served, the East Bay Times reported.

Teachers previously held a seven-day walkout against the Oakland district on April 29, 2022.

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District spokesman John Sasaki didn’t immediately answer an email Thursday seeking comment. A district advisory to news media said there would be no one available to comment ahead of a 10:30 a.m. news conference.

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