With everyone focused on the writers’ strike, it’s worth noting another strike–teachers in Oakland. This is fascinating. The district is offering a good wage gain. But that’s not really what the teachers are interested in. I mean, they are, but it’s not enough for them to settle over their higher priorities:
Teachers represented by OEA are striking over wages and issues such as safety and racial justice, for which they want concessions in any contract. District officials say they are prioritizing wages in contract negotiations because they want to retain teachers.
The district said Sunday its latest salary proposal is “a nearly $70 million investment in OEA members and teachers because they are the most critical part of our children’s education.”
The district said its proposal includes a retroactive 10% raise and a $5,000 one-time bonus, a minimum salary increase compared to their current salary of at least 13% and as much as 22% for every classroom teacher beginning next year.
The district also said its proposal removes “frozen zones” in the existing salary schedule, which currently means teachers can go up to 8 years without a raise. The district admitted that “problem has existed for decades.” It also proposes shortening the time teachers take to move to the top of the pay scale, from 32 years to 20 years.
Teachers have said they want a say in how the district uses state money for community schools. They want reparations for Black students, including investment in historically Black schools.
They also want the district to address safety issues such as gun violence and asbestos and lead in the buildings. They also reportedly want more teacher preparation time in elementary schools and additional counselors at prioritized schools.
This is how unionism for the common good works. It is locally based and also about the children. The wages are fine, but the asbestos that kids get exposed to? No, not OK.