Mediation Begins for Teachers and Oakland Unified School District
Thursday, October, 4, 2018
The Oakland Education Association teachers union and the Oakland Unified School District are headed to mediation to resolve their current contract dispute.
According to the teachers, negotiations reached a “bargaining showdown” even though negotiations have been underway for two years. The announcement to try mediation was made via a news conference that involved the union, and parents, students, and other supporters following the first session of mediation. The goal of using mediation was to get the negotiations kick-started again and help the situation move forward.
Should mediation fail, the next step would be for the teachers to launch a strike, at least according to the union. Oakland teachers have been without a contract since the summer of 2017.
According to teacher and president of the union Keith Brown, “The school board has voted again and again to strip resources from our students in order to support a budget bloated with central office administrators and private vendors. This has created a crisis in Oakland. We are here to put students at the center of OUSD by settling a contract that reinvests in our kids and retains quality educators. The time to make students and quality schools a priority again is now. Our teachers cannot afford a home or an apartment. Many are one paycheck away from homelessness.”
Mediation sessions took place throughout September and involved mediators speaking to each side and then meeting to discuss potential resolutions. According to mediators, the two sides still have a significant gap between them and they’re going to need to take a “creative approach.”