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Why is there no strike pay for Oakland teachers?
by Jonathan Burleigh (WSWS Repost)
Sunday Feb 24th, 2019 11:34 PM
Historically, the provision of strike pay was one of the elemental tasks of unions.

The Oakland Education Association, however, is not providing a penny in strike benefits to the embattled teachers even though union dues are regularly deducted from their paychecks.
Why is there no strike pay for Oakland teachers?

By Jonathan Burleigh
25 February 2019

The teachers on strike in Oakland, California, are fighting for increased funding to public education, to secure a living wage, and to put an end to the privatization of schools. The Oakland Education Association (OEA), however, is bargaining for a pittance, a wage increase that barely keeps pace with inflation, and a negligible reduction in class sizes. The OEA has excluded from its demand any challenge to the school board’s proposal to slash $60 million from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) budget.

To carry their struggle forward, Oakland teachers must build rank-and-file committees, independent of the unions, which begin with what teachers and their students need, not what corporate-controlled politicians claim is affordable. This will require mobilizing the broadest sections of the working class in a powerful industrial and political fight against the entrenched wealth of the corporate and financial elite, which is protected by both corporate-controlled parties, and, in California particularly, the Democratic Party.

This is a class war and teachers need to marshal all the resources—human and financial—to sustain this fight.

The Oakland Education Association, however, is not providing a penny in strike benefits to the embattled teachers even though union dues are regularly deducted from their paychecks. Historically, the provision of strike pay was one of the elemental tasks of unions, demanded by workers to offset the pressure of the employers starving workers into submission. Today, the OEA and its state and national affiliates are joining the school board in exerting economic pressure on teachers.

In lieu of strike pay, the OEA is providing insulting “strike grants” and zero percent interest loans through a local credit union. The grants are needs-based, requiring OEA members to go through the humiliating process of proving their “need,” by submitting confidential financial paperwork. The amounts to be doled out are a meager $500, $1,000 or $1,500. Further, teachers can only apply for these grants if the strike extends for five days, at which point they will have lost nearly 3 percent of their annual pay.

Read the rest at the World Socialist Website:

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