Will there be an Oakland teacher strike?
Pressure is mounting as Oakland teachers and their supporters push for decreased class sizes, a 12 percent pay increase for educators, the hiring of more counselors, and for the district to cancel plans to close up to 24 schools in the next few years. After teachers have worked for over a year and a half without a contract with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), a vote to strike has been scheduled from Jan. 29 – Feb. 1 for all 3,000 members of the Oakland Education Association (OEA) union.
While the OEA is leading negotiations and strike preparations, school-based coalitions of teachers are also taking action. Teachers have begun holding one-day sick-outs and marches to the district headquarters at 11th Street and Broadway in downtown Oakland.
One group, the Wildcat Underground, made up of teachers from Oakland High School has called for and participated in two sickouts.
“The sick outs are our way of flexing. We’re showing that teachers are ready to strike, that we’re organized and mobilized,”said Oakland High School teacher Alex Webster Guiney.
The momentum behind sick- outs is growing. While the vast majority of those who participated in the first sick-out in December were teachers from Oakland High School, many teachers from at least nine different schools, including Skyline and Fremont High Schools, called in sick and participated in the second sick-out.