Oakland teachers on strike demanding pay hike of 12%

About 2,300 public school teachers in Oakland have walked out work rejecting the latest 7 percent pay raise over three years time period. The strike is calling for more than what the superintendent’s offer has been announced.

Teachers union Oakland Education Association is learned has been negotiating for a new contract for more than a year-and-a-half. They are demanding for more school nurses, guidance counselors, charter school oversight and of course small class sizes.

The union is also seeking to keep dozen schools in low-income neighborhoods open. The district has plans to shut such schools.

Apart from all these, the union is looking for a pay hike of 12 percent instead of 7 percent as it barely covers cost of inflation.

One of the teachers who have worked for five years said, “If people value teachers, the most basic level of respect we should get is to make enough money to live in the communities where we work, not get priced out.”

Some of the teachers believe it is better to leave Oakland and move to neighboring places as affording to buy a home and paying child care costs are becoming challenging.

Just about a month before Los Angeles teachers too were on strike with similar demands. Most of their demands were fulfilled. The Oakland teachers are saying the same.

Meanwhile, Oakland schools superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said, “We have to live within our current financial reality.”

Paul Linus