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Oakland Unified School District

Strike ends: Oakland teachers return to work with 10% pay raise

on May 15, 2023

Oakland Unified School District teachers will return to work Tuesday, 12 days after striking when the union and district could not come to an agreement on wages and other issues.

The three-year tentative deal, retroactive to Nov. 1, 2022, includes a 10% raise and a $5,000 one-time payment, a compensation package that Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell called “historic,” at a Monday afternoon news conference. Under the contract, first-year teachers with a bachelor’s degree will earn $62,296.

Other points that Johnson-Trammell highlighted in the contract include: increasing the number of librarians, counselors, nurses, and visual and performing arts teachers; adding a 50-minute preparation period for elementary school teachers to the two periods they currently have; and collapsing the number of salary steps to 24 from 31.

The district announced the deal around 4 a.m. Monday, with eight days left in the school year and high school graduations looming.

“Our community rallied together to fight for Oakland’s students and we won!” the Oakland Education Association posted on its Facebook page. “Our collective power forced OUSD to commit to living wages for educators, more resources in our schools, enforceable working conditions and common good issues for our students and their families.”

Teachers walked off the job on May 4, closing schools for eight days. The district called Monday a transition day, with campuses open. “However, it is not clear how many staff will be present at any given site,” the district’s statement said. “Some teachers may choose to be back in class with their students; others may choose not to come to campus.”

On Tuesday, teachers are required to return.

The teachers had hoped to return to work Monday, but at 11 p.m. Sunday, when the bargaining team had yet to see what it had agreed to accurately portrayed in the tentative contract, the union took the strike into the next day, OEA President Ismael Arnendariz and Vice President Kampala Taiz-Rancifer said at a Sunday night news conference. The sides team spent 32 hours bargaining over the weekend.

On Sunday, OEA posted that an agreement had been reached on reparations for African American students, resources for homeless students, school closures and shared governance. It added that the union would share specific information about those issues on its website.

At the news conference, Johnson-Trammell said that since becoming superintendent in 2017, her goal has been to stabilize the district’s fiscal foundation so that it could pay teachers “what they deserve.”

“I want to underscore, we realize we’re not there yet,” she said. “This is one crucial step toward getting there.”

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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