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Home Web Updates Back Issues Blogs Links Subscribe Contact Substance Buy Online Login Register Sections • Share on Facebook • Add your own comment Oakland teachers pull off wildcat strike Pete Farruggio December 12 2018 Similar to Chicago the Oakland school district is crying poverty while they are hiding a 30 million surplus The local union leadership is overly cautious probably because they re being directed by the state leadership which is tied to the Democratic Party Central Committee Some union activists have informed school chapter chairs about the surplus but it s like pulling teeth to get the union officials to do this or to inform the general public See https www wildcatunderground com for the following article and more information In addition here s a video of the demonstration in front of Oakland school district headquarters which includes a discussion with the district communications director John Sasaki The Oakland teachers demand that he explain why a district that spends 50 million more than the average amount spent in this county on administration and consultants pays its educators so much less than what teachers earn in whiter wealthier communities Notice that his first remark is to warn teachers that their action is illegal Then he touts the line that a 5 pay raise spread out over three years is a reasonable offer No mention of offering funds to reduce class size and improve classroom supplies When the teachers counter by chanting Chop from the top they are referring to the outrageous expenditures on high priced consultants who mostly offer ineffective programs that cost even more money There are lots of pet projects from downtown administrators and some school board members https www youtube com watch v wKeV Quu8r0&feature youtu be By the way I don t know this district flak but I ll bet that he has a nice salary and benefits and has less education than most of the teachers in the crowd Oh the irony of public education Oakland High teachers walk out to protest pay district considers discipline By Jill Tucker Dec 10 2018 San Francisco Chronicle More than 100 Oakland teachers and students ditched school Monday to protest teacher pay and larger class sizes an illegal action that could be a precursor to a district wide strike Oakland High School teachers called in sick or took a personal day in an unauthorized walkout despite threats from district officials that they could face discipline or a pay cut They gathered in front of Oakland City Hall with educators from Fremont High and Madison Park Academy carrying signs reading “Chop from the top” and chanting “Hey hey ho ho where did all the money go ” in their campaign for a better contract “We want lower class sizes ” said English teacher Chris Johnston “We want a living wage for teachers so they can live in the community ” The walkout was considered a wildcat strike a rogue act not sanctioned by the Oakland Education Association teachers’ union That said it’s clear that the anger among teachers is starting to boil over given the lack of a contract said union President Keith Brown “I really understand the frustrations that our members have with the district ” he said “It’s time that our elected officials our school board members really seriously begin to invest in our classrooms and students ” The teachers have been working under an expired contract since July 2017 District and union officials remain far apart on wages and other conditions Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki said the district’s most recent offer was for a 5 percent raise over three years while the teachers are standing by their proposal of a 12 percent raise over the same period Negotiations are now in a fact finding phase which could ultimately lead to a strike vote Brown said that a strike could come as early as mid February “We’re willing to do what it takes to improve the learning conditions for our students and we are ready to strike if necessary ” he said While district officials warned teachers that the walkout was an illegal action an estimated 75 of Oakland High’s 90 teachers participated according to the walkout organizers Sasaki said top officials were considering whether to discipline teachers who participated in the walkout perhaps by docking their pay He said that the district is still committed to the bargaining process and a fair contract Yet the district is grappling with a budget crisis and the school board has been forced to address a 30 million shortfall which could mean a range of cuts as well as school consolidation and closures An independent analysis earlier this year said the district was in “financial distress ” At the rally Monday teachers complained that their salaries are among the lowest in the county although their entire compensation package — which includes no cost health premiums for employees and families — is comparable to other districts The starting salary for a first year teacher in Oakland is 46 570 and top pay is 83 723 with employer paid pension health care and other costs adding about 30 000 in additional compensation The Oakland High teachers however said the one day walkout also reflected a laundry list of complaints including large class sizes especially for special education teachers Amy Wilder who has taught special education for 11 years said that there are too many students and not enough support “It just makes the job impossible ” she said “We’ve had a lot of problems retaining teachers ” She said she called in sick Monday in protest and would accept any consequences saying it was an important act of civil disobedience Many teachers said they were proud to see their students at the rally and noted that it was an educational lesson for them in community organizing and civic engagement The students said teachers didn’t ask them to participate but several said they wanted to support their instructors even if it meant they were truant for the day “We really love our teachers ” said Paw Wah a sophomore at Oakland High “It’s like a family to us ” Sophomore Sir Ronald Hamlet IV said that he showed up to support his teachers all of whom were at the rally “They do so much for us ” he said “They could easily go to other school districts and earn more money but they don’t because they love us ” While about two dozen students attended the rally hundreds of their classmates reportedly stayed home from school as well District officials however were still tallying teacher and student absences District administrators and substitute teachers were filling in for the day Sasaki who appeared at the rally outside City Hall told teachers and their supporters that the district received their message “We hear you we want to work with you and we will continue to talk to you ” he said A teacher with a megaphone responded with a question for the crowd “Are you ready to strike ” he asked Teachers responded with a booming “Yes ” that echoed through Frank Ogawa Plaza Comments Add your own comment 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