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Oakland teachers union strikes amid failed contract talks

Oakland teachers carry picket signs last week in protest over the lack of a new contract
Spencer Smith
Youth Beat
Oakland teachers carry picket signs last week in protest over the lack of a new contract

The Oakland Educators Association, or OEA, announced the strike last night. It represents about 3,000 teachers, counselors, nurses, psychologists, librarians, speech pathologists, social workers and teacher substitutes.

The strike is impacting the district's 34,000 students. Schools remain open, with principals and other staff monitoring students. The school year is scheduled to end in three weeks.

Talks between the union and negotiators for the Oakland Unified School District appeared to be making progress earlier this week, but last-minute talks failed to break a seven-month impasse.

Oakland Unified president Mike Hutchinson told CBS Bay Area Newshe was disappointed by the walkout and hoped that negotiations with the union would have continued, but he said the union walked away from the bargaining table Wednesday night.

OEA president Ismail Armendariz blamed the district, telling KTVUthat they failed to give their top negotiator the authority to bargain with the union.

Earlier this week, the district proposed that every teacher get a raise of at least 13 percent and as much as 22 percent.

But teachers say the strike is not just about compensation, pointing to a need for safer facilities and classroom renovations.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.