It seems as if the only way for teachers and students to win gains from the boards that allegedly protect and serve them is to strike.


BREAKING BAY AREA NEWS: Oakland Education Association members have voted to ratify their new contract and end their seven-day strike, the union announced tonight. Educators will return to their classrooms Monday. See the news release below….


Mike Myslinski

Headquarters Communications

California Teachers Association

1705 Murchison Drive

Burlingame, CA 94010


408-921-5769 (cell)



March 3, 2019


Oakland Education Association

272 East 12th Street

Oakland, CA 94606




–Mike Myslinski with CTA on cell at 408-921-5769,


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

OEA on Facebook:




Strike Ends, But Fight for Public Schools Will Continue


OAKLAND – Members of the Oakland Education Association voted today to approve a new contract and end their seven-day strike. Educators will be back in their classrooms Monday, knowing that students will benefit from the gains won in smaller class sizes, more student supports, and living wages that will help halt the teacher retention crisis in Oakland.


While applauding the gains made with the agreement, educators vowed to continue their fight for fully-funded classrooms, an end to school closures in Oakland’s Black and Latinx communities, and a moratorium on charter schools that are draining the school district of resources.


“We look forward to being in our classrooms again after having to strike to bring our Oakland students some of the resources and supports they should have had in the first place,” said Oakland Education Association (OEA) President Keith Brown. “This victory, accomplished through our collective strength on the picket lines with Oakland parents and students, sends the message that educators will no longer let this school district starve our neighborhood schools of resources. Our fight is not over, though. Oakland educators spoke clearly today at our ratification vote that this agreement will not be the end of our struggle, and we will continue to fight in Oakland and Sacramento for the schools our students deserve.”


A summary of the significant gains made by striking, and the full agreement, are on the OEA website: The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) school board must now ratify the agreement.


OEA members met at the Paramount Theater downtown today and voted to approve the two tentative agreements that comprise the new contract. The first tentative agreement, which deals mostly with the 3 percent retroactive bonus for 2017-18, was approved by a vote of 64 percent yes, 36 percent no, or 1,269 to 701. There were five abstentions.


The second tentative agreement was for the rest of the contract, including salary increases, for the  2018-19 and 2020-21 school years. It was approved by 58 percent yes votes to 42 percent no, or 1,141 to 832. There were four abstentions. Only a simple majority vote was needed to approve each of the two sections of the overall contract agreement.


The strike brought gains on every one of OEA’s demands:


LIVING WAGES: Already among the lowest-paid educators in the Bay Area, and facing an exodus of more than 500 educators per year, Oakland members made salary a key battleground to stabilize classrooms for students. It took a strike to force the district to invest in teachers. For the four-year contract, the 11 percent salary increase the union won, plus a 3 percent bonus, is considerably more than what the school district was offering pre-strike — only 7 percent over four years, and a 1.5 percent bonus – and leaps and bounds more than a take-away offer of no raise and one furlough day made by the district one year ago.


LOWER CLASS SIZE: The OUSD had pushed back against lowering class sizes, but OEA won a reduction in class size next school year by 1 in the district’s highest-needs schools, followed by a reduction in class size by 1 in 2021 at all schools. Educators know that lower class sizes improve student learning conditions and improve teacher retention.


MORE STUDENT SUPPORTS: The OEA strike won a phased-in reduction in caseloads for counselors from a ratio of 600 students to one counselor to down to 500:1 by 2020-21 school year. Caseloads for speech therapists, psychologists and resource specialists will also be reduced. A new nurse salary schedule in 2021 to help recruit and retain nurses will include the contract’s negotiated salary increase plus 9 percent. In addition, nurses will receive a $10,000 bonus twice, in May of 2020 and 2021.


SCHOOL CLOSURE PAUSE: During the strike and well before, Oakland teachers blasted the district and school board for proceeding with a plan to close up to 24 of the 86 schools, mostly in African American and Latinx neighborhoods. After refusing to bargain over this issue for months, the strike forced Board of Education President Aimee Eng to commit to introduce a resolution calling for a five-month pause on school closures and consolidations, and more community input into the process.


This pause against closures is far from enough, said OEA President Brown. “This resolution is a direct result of the strike and OEA members lifting up the issue of school closures in Oakland and putting pressure on the school board. However, the OEA will continue to oppose any closures of neighborhood schools in our Black and Latinx communities. Oakland educators will continue to fight against school closures that hurt working-class neighborhoods in Oakland.”


CHARTER MORATORIUM: The proliferation of unregulated charters – many housed at neighborhood schools that were shut down by the school board over the last two decades – continues to disrupt Oakland. Because of the strike, the school board will vote on a resolution calling on the state to stop charter growth in OUSD. Charter schools drain the district of about $57 million a year, one key study found.


The strike drew national media attention for how billionaires and outside interests influenced the Oakland school board members who supported more privately-managed, publicly-funded charters, and for how educators are being priced out of gentrifying Oakland by its soaring housing costs.


Teacher and community solidarity grew each day of the seven-day strike. Tens of thousands of parents and allies walked picket lines and attended rallies and marches at City Hall. About 95 percent of OEA members remained on strike each day of the showdown, and student attendance plummeted to about 2 percent by the union’s estimate as parents kept their children home.


The strike erupted after two years of frustrating negotiations – the teachers’ contract expired in July 2017. The extraordinary documentation of the strike is on the OEA Facebook page here:


President Brown thanked the community, all educators and allies for their strong support. “We built power. We united the community during the seven days of the strike and we have won because of the power of parents, students uniting with the community and labor,” Brown said. “Through this powerful strike, the people of Oakland have spoken.”


Brown also thanked State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Assembly Member Rob Bonta for their support and participation during negotiations.


OEA co-sponsored the Bread For Ed campaign that raised more than $171,000 to feed Oakland students in solidarity schools held at churches and city recreation centers during the strike in a district where an overwhelming number of children are low-income and depend on free or reduced-price meals during school. The OEA Membership Assistance Fund raised more than $85,000 through a Go Fund Me drive.


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.