This just in:

 

Mike Myslinski

Headquarters Communications

California Teachers Association

1705 Murchison Drive

Burlingame, CA 94010

650-552-5324

408-921-5769 (cell)

www.cta.org

 

NEWS RELEASE  

February 4, 2019

 

Oakland Education Association

272 East 12th Street

Oakland, CA 94606

510-763-4020

www.oaklandea.org

 

Contact: OEA President Keith Brown on cell at (510) 866-8280.

On Twitter: @oaklandea, #Unite4OaklandKids, #WeAreOEA, #RedForEd #WeAreCTA

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

With 95% ‘Yes’ Vote Tally, Oakland Unified Educators Give OEA Union Right to Call a Strike, If Necessary

Strong Solidarity Vote Makes it Clear that Educators Will Do What it Takes to Fight for Students –Tuesday Rally to Ask Oakland City Council for Support

 

OAKLAND – In a tremendous vote for public education and against the continued gutting of Oakland public schools, 95 percent of educators who cast strike authorization votes last week voted “yes” to allowing leaders of the Oakland Education Association to call a strike, if necessary, the OEA union announced today.

 

The vote allows OEA leaders call a strike to win the smaller class sizes, living wages for educators and additional student resources that educators are fighting for – including more counselors and school nurses for the district’s 37,000 students. Educators at all 86 Oakland Unified School District sites voted over four days last week. Of the 2,311 legal votes cast, 2,206 educators voted yes, or 95.45 percent.

 

“No strike date has been set – but without a very serious proposal by the school board, we expect to be on strike by the end of the month,” OEA President Keith Brown said at a news conference today. “If the school board won’t act, we will act.”

 

OEA is also alerting the public about its 4:30 p.m. rally on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Frank Ogawa Plaza/City Hall where hundreds of educators will urge the City Council to adopt a resolution on its agenda supporting teachers and opposing school closures (the district plans to close or merge up to 24 schools over five years). Educators will speak out at the rally, and then pack the City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Read the City Council resolution here (click on the “view report” tab to see entire resolution).

 

The OEA is affiliated with the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. So far, at least 17 other Bay Area CTA chapters of teachers’ unions have pledged nearly $20,000 to the OEA strike fund to assist teachers facing financial hardships during a strike, with more pledges continuing to be received. In addition, OEA has launched a Go Fund Me account drive to help teachers cope during a work stoppage. See more ways to help Oakland teachers here.

 

Friday, Feb. 1, was the second and final day of a hearing with a state-appointed neutral fact-finder, Najeeb Khoury, who is tasked with helping to resolve the contract negotiations crisis by issuing a non-binding report, which is expected on Feb. 15. After the report is issued, the Oakland Education Association, which represents 3,000 educators in the Oakland Unified School District, can legally strike, if necessary. The detailed and revealing OEA presentation made during the fact-finding hearing is here. Watch for more updates atwww.oaklandea.org

 

Oakland educators are fighting to end the district’s teacher retention crisis as many teachers leave the district for better salaries elsewhere. Starting pay for beginning Oakland teachers is about $46,000, and educators are among the lowest paid in Alameda County. Educators have been working without a contract since July 2017, and seven sessions with a state mediator were fruitless.

 

Winning more student resources is one of the top priorities for OEA in this showdown. The student-to-counselor ratio is too high at 600:1, while the student-to-nurse ratio is a dismal 1,350:1. Keeping neighborhood schools open is another crucial priority.

 

Frustrated Oakland educators are part of a national wave of teachers protesting poor public school funding, a lack of student resources, inadequate salaries and other conditions. This includes the recent successful six-day strike by members of United Teachers Los Angeles in Los Angeles Unified, and in several other states, that are part of the #RedForEd movement.

 

The strike vote results were announced at a news conference with scores of Oakland educators at the OEA union’s Representative Council meeting at 4 p.m. today at Oakland Technical High School. Of all ballots cast, 94 were considered illegal, and another six ballots were blank. There were 105 “no” votes cast.

 

Media can also watch the archived news conference coverage on the Oakland Education Association Facebook page here.

 

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The Oakland Education Association represents 3,000 OUSD educators, including teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, therapists, substitutes, and early childhood and adult teachers. OEA is affiliated with the 325,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3 million-member National Education Association.