Teachers ‘Striking in the Rain' as Negotiations Continue

Oakland teachers likely will extend a strike into Thursday, a week after educators walked out of classrooms to demand higher wages and smaller class sizes.

Negotiations between the district and the Oakland Education Association are ongoing and a resolution was not announced late Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, teachers grabbed their pickets and umbrellas and resumed striking at all schools in the city.

Strike supporters also occupied the State Building in the morning, where negotiations between the district and union were taking place, in order to put pressure on the district.

Protesters filled the bridge near Redding Street in Oakland over Interstate 580 as vehicles honked in support of the teachers.

Teachers on Wednesday evening were also successful in getting the school district to postpone a school board meeting scheduled at La Escuelita Elementary. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the school and the district later announced it had canceled the board meeting.

"The Board was scheduled to vote on budget reductions this evening. These reductions are needed to prioritize investing in a raise for our Oakland Education Association (OEA) members that will help students and teachers return to school as soon as possible," OUSD said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the teachers’ union (OEA) prevented the meeting from happening by directing members to picket 'until meeting cancelled.' We are disheartened by tactics that directly interfere with the District’s ability to give the teachers a raise, and get students and teachers back into classrooms."

OUSD officials said Tuesday they remain optimistic that the two sides will reach an agreement that honors teachers and respects the fiscal needs of the district. Negotiations went on again with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in attendance as a mediator in the negotiations, union officials said.

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