OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association returned to the bargaining table on Tuesday, but the teachers strike will continue Wednesday for its fifth day, according to the district.
In a news release, OUSD reported that 6% of students have attended school each day since the strike began, which has turned into a loss of nearly $1 million per day for the district.
Talks between the two sides will continue throughout Tuesday evening.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond returned Tuesday for a second day as a mediator in negotiations between the Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association as the teachers strike enters its fourth day, union officials said.
Thurmond, who took part in a long bargaining session Monday, will again try to broker a settlement between the district and its teachers union, the OEA said in a news release.
The union staged a mid-day march in East Oakland on Tuesday to draw attention to the district’s plans to close up to 24 schools in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods.
The solidarity rally and march to support Oakland’s Roots International Academy, which is slated for closure, began at 11:30 a.m. at Verdese Park, 9600 Sunnyside St., followed by a two-mile march to Roots school sy 1390 66th Ave. in Oakland.
A rally with speakers was planned at Roots.
After another long day of negotiations Monday, union representatives for Oakland teachers and the school district remained at an impasse, despite Thurmond’s presence.
If anything, tensions appeared to be mounting. Monday evening, Oakland Education Association union President Keith Brown lashed out at district officials.
In a statement, Brown accused union officials of “lies and misinformation” for allegedly implying “that significant movement has happened since the strike began. This is untrue.”
Earlier Monday, teachers received support from another high-profile figure when former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich spoke at a rally.
About 1,000 teachers and their supporters gathered in front of Oakland City Hall for a boisterous midday rally where Reich spoke.
Reich, who worked under the Clinton administration in Washington D.C. and is now a chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, questioned the Oakland Unified School District’s assertion that it can’t afford to give teachers the 12 percent raise over three years that they are seeking.
“When people in power say that they can’t afford it, what they mean is either they don’t care or they’re not going to work hard to get the resources necessary,” Reich said.
Reich told the teachers that by going on strike, “What you are doing is bringing attention to a fundamental injustice, a fundamental imbalance in power.”
Reich alleged that school district officials “don’t want to stand up for the children of Oakland.”
He said, “Not only is that unjust, it is cowardice.”
More On 1996 Oakland Teachers Strike
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- 1996: Salary Gap Huge Between Oakland Teachers, Administrators
- ’96 Oakland Teachers Strike: Parents Realize They Must Step Up
The teachers’ strike began last Thursday after two years of failed negotiations between the union and the school district and is the first multi-day walkout by Oakland teachers since 1996, when they went on strike for more than two months.
The district previously offered a 5 percent raise over three years, but last week made a new offer of 8.5 percent over four years.