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Oakland teachers are set to strike Thursday

Oakland teachers are set to strike Thursday
Teachers carry placards as they walk a picket line outside a Denver high school Monday. Oakland teachers say they will strike starting this Thursday. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Thousands of Oakland Unified teachers will walk off the job Thursday, the president of the teachers union announced Saturday.

Oakland Education Assn. President Keith Brown said the union’s 3,000 members will strike after two years of negotiations with the Oakland Unified School District failed to yield a new agreement. He said 95% of the union’s members authorized the strike.

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“Oakland teachers can’t afford to live in Oakland,” Brown said. He said the union would strike unless there are “dramatic changes to the district’s approach” to provide more funds for nurses, counselors and teachers. The union also wants smaller class sizes.

Already, Oakland teachers staged a one-day sickout Jan. 18 in preparation for a possible strike.

Oakland Unified said in a statement Saturday that it has repeatedly asked the teachers union to return to the bargaining table.

“I encourage OEA to talk with us,” said Supt. Kyla Johnson-Trammell in the statement. “Despite our challenges, we are prepared with a comprehensive proposal to reach an agreement. If both sides are committed to settling the contract before a strike occurs — and we are — an agreement can certainly be reached without disrupting the educational experience for students, families and staff.”

The Oakland walkout would mark the latest in a wave of teachers’ strikes across the country as unions protest for higher salaries, more support staff and greater regulation over the growth of charter schools.

Los Angeles teachers staged a six-day strike last month, and teachers in Denver ended a three-day strike this week. Teachers also walked off the job in Arizona and West Virginia last year.

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