Labor

Oakland Unified School District plans to eliminate 100 classified workers’ positions

Melvin Phillips has worked in Oakland schools for the last 27 years. He is currently the lead school security officer at Fremont High School and he is one of hundreds of classified employees in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Classified workers include instructional specialists like classroom support staff and tutors, administrative workers, custodians, security officers, and other school staff. During the Oakland teachers’ strike last month, classified workers joined the teachers on the picket lines in a sympathy strike….

Kaiser Permanente gets into new negotiations with workers’ unions

Representatives from health giant Kaiser Permanente and unions representing its workers returned to the bargaining table late last week to resume contract talks with over 80,000 union members across the nation. Some 63,800 of those members are from California, and they are asking their employer for a renewal of their national agreement, which expired last September. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Union (CKPU) represents 11 labor unions in various states. Five of those unions represent California workers—the International Federation of…

Oakland City Council gives schools $1.2 million in one-time funding for the school year

Last Tuesday, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution to provide $1.2 million in funding for the Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) restorative justice program, foster youth case manager positions, and school libraries. All three programs were at risk of enacting widespread layoffs or reductions to the services they provide following the Oakland school board’s vote last month to cut about $22 million from the district’s budget. When introducing the resolution, Council President Rebecca Kaplan (at-large) highlighted how each of…

At Oakland school board meeting, debate over school closures and charter schools intensifies

Tensions from the recent Oakland teachers’ strike were still reverberating among attendees during a special meeting for the Board of Education on Wednesday night. Hundreds of people filled the auditorium at La Escuelita Education Complex, holding small green signs that set the theme for the night. One side of the signs read “No new charters.” On the other: “No school closures.” Many in the crowd wore the black and green of the Oakland Education Association (OEA)—the teachers’ union—or red, the…

Oakland’s schools are open again, but tension remains over budget cuts, teacher contract

The Oakland teachers’ strike officially ended on Sunday evening, but the debate over their contract and district budget cuts is still not over. The vote on Sunday was far from unanimous. Members of the teachers’ union—the Oakland Education Association—gathered at the Paramount Theater for four hours of debate before voting on whether or not to approve the tentative agreement, or TA, reached by union and the Oakland Unified School District. Teachers held signs that read “Say no to the sellout…

On the fifth day of their strike, Oakland teachers force cancellation of a school board meeting

On the fifth day of their strike, Oakland teachers shut down a school board meeting. Starting in the early afternoon on Wednesday, teachers and their supporters picketed outside of the La Escuelita Education Complex. By the time the meeting was set to start, thousands of teachers, parents, and students were marching all around the building. Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) officials released a statement postponing the meeting. The school board had been set to vote on about $21.75 million in…

Oakland’s teacher strike concludes its second day

On Friday morning, Oakland teachers returned to the picket lines as their strike entered its second day. The bargaining teams from the Oakland Education Association (OEA)—the teachers’ union—and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) met in the morning to resume negotiations but as of 4 pm Friday afternoon, had not come to any resolution. The two sides have been negotiating on a new contract for over two years; teacher pay and class sizes have been the main sticking points in…

An Oakland teacher explains why he’s going on strike

Today is the first day of the Oakland teachers’ strike. Public school teachers and staff gathered outside their schools to form picket lines, chanting and rallying support in their quest for smaller class sizes, higher wages, more student support services and a promise from the district that there will be no more school closures. Earlier this week, we followed Alejandro Estrada, a 4th grade teacher at International Community School and the union representative for his school, as he prepared to…