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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Labor & Workers
Oakland Teachers Set to Strike April 29th After Board Imposes Contract, 4/21/10: Photos & Audio
Oakland teachers have worked over two years without a contract. In order to push negotiations along, a three-person panel was convened to resolve financial and other disputes between the Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association. The panel reviewed the budget and related issues and made recommendations that included a 2% pay increase for teachers. The District Board and Superintendent, however, chose to completely ignore the 28-page report and scheduled an emergency hearing to vote on imposing their "last, best, final offer" onto Oakland teachers which includes no pay raise, claiming the district could not afford any increases. Teachers and their allies packed the Board meeting on April 21st to object to any imposition of a labor contract without the Oakland Educator Association's consent. [Full audio below.]
Over 45 teachers and their allies in the community took turns voicing concerns and expressing dissent about imposition of a contract. One lone speaker praised the growing number of anti-union charter schools in Oakland. After everyone who had filled out a speaker card had their time at the microphone, members of the Oakland Unified School District Board took turns justifying the vote they would soon take to impose a contract, several of whom strangely spoke of future unity and collaboration with Oakland's teachers, which their bad faith vote would do absolutely nothing to help foster. In what appeared to be a pre-determined show of strength by the Board, the vote was unanimous to impose a contract that denies raises, increases class sizes, and lays off teachers. Those who had filled the room to defend Oakland teachers then stormed out of the building and immediately began to organize for the city-wide strike coming this Thursday.
Oakland teachers are asking all citizens of Oakland to stand with them in solidarity on April 29th -- and beyond as the struggle for a fair labor contract will undoubtedly continue.
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