OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Oakland Education Association announced Friday afternoon that the union had reached a tentative agreement with the Oakland Unified School District to end the ongoing teachers strike that had entered its seventh day.
The Oakland Education Association posted the news on the organization’s website at about 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. The OEA said it would be posting the complete tentative agreement later Friday afternoon.
“This is a historic contract with a win in every major proposal we made, that moves us toward a win for the schools Oakland students deserve!” the statement on the OEA site read.
The teachers will receive an 11 percent raise over four years with a three percent bonus upon the ratification of the new contract. They also received a promise for additional counselors, RSPs, psychologists, speech pathologists and other support staff, a one student reduction in class size at schools with high needs next year with a one student reduction in class sizes across all schools in 2021-22.
The agreement also calls for Board President Aimee Eng introducing a resolution calling for a five month moratorium on school closures and consolidations as well as a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter schools similar to the one passed by the Los Angeles Unified School District Board after the Los Angeles teachers strike.
The contract will still need to undergo a member discussion and ratification vote after a 24-hour period for review, the OEA said.
“Today marks a sea change for OUSD as we take a major step in support of our teachers and students,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell in a statement released by the district. “Our teachers are the core of everything we do as a school district, and we are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement that shows them how valuable they are.”
OEA President Keith Brown told KPIX that teachers will vote on the agreement Saturday. He said he’s satisfied with the deal.
“I feel great. I feel great for our students,” said Brown.
However, some teachers feel the union gave in too early. They plan to reject the contract.
“We need to keep pushing. We’re not there yet,” said Bret Harte Middle School teacher LaKiesha Golden. “One of the biggest pieces was living wage.”
McClymonds High teacher Booker Lett said the wage increase doesn’t keep up with inflation.
“When we vote no, that they take our vote very seriously and then come back with something I can take back to my colleagues,” explained Lett.
After seven days on the picket lines, some teachers said they were ready to return to the classroom.
“I think it’s a fair compromise. Negotiations are about compromise,” said Oakland High teacher Diane Johnson. “We have to give a little. And they came to the table.”
Metwest High teacher Berta Guillen said she is not 100 percent satisfied, but is still ready to vote yes.
“I want to be grateful and also say the 12 percent plus the bonus wasn’t too much of an ask,” said Guillen.
The teachers’ strike began last Thursday after two years of failed negotiations between the union and the school district.
3,000 teachers, nurses, counselors and other staff members have walked the picket lines outside of schools across the city every day since the strike started.
The strike was met with widespread support by parents, with only a small percentage bringing their children in to attend class.
“We have the momentum in our favor,” said teacher Marisa Villegas.
The teachers’ union wants a 12 percent pay raise over three years. The district has almost doubled its original offer to 10 percent over four years.
“Strikes require administration, the boss, to confront their priorities because of the crisis we’ve created for them,” said history teacher Harley Litzelman.
Teachers are also demanding smaller class sizes and more student resources like counselors and nurses.
Later Friday, the school board is scheduled to vote on the district’s proposal to make almost 22 million in budget cuts for the next school year.
“If we’re going to do the kinds of things that we want to do for our teachers, we have to make changes. We have to prioritize out talent in our teachers and other staff,” said OUSD spokesperson John Sasaki.
Each day the strike goes on, the district is losing about a million dollars in funding.
Many students joined their teachers during the week of protests and picketing.
“We’re learning a lot about the different kinds of rallies that happen, how to protest effectively,” said Oakland freshman Sylvia Kambouridis.
If the contract is approved, union officials said the earliest teachers can return to school would be Tuesday, not Monday. If the teachers reject the deal, the strike will continue.