On Thursday, February 21st teachers and educators in the Oakland Education Association (OEA) went out on strike for reasons nearly identical to the historic UTLA strike in January. OEA has been in negotiations for 18 months fighting for a living wage, smaller class sizes, and more support for students.
Like so many others across the country, Oakland teachers are standing up for themselves and for their students. The recent strike wave among K-12 faculty and staff—from West Virginia to Arizona, Los Angeles to Denver—is invigorating the labor movement, energizing teachers, and fueling a new national conversation that blames chronic underfunding and privatization for the crisis in public education.
Higher education faces similar threats and challenges. Most public colleges and universities—whose budgets are balanced on the backs of underpaid and under-respected contingent faculty—are constantly pressured to narrow their mission and to shape curricula to meet “productivity” goals and market demands instead of students’ interests and needs. Despite reduced course offerings, higher education still leaves many of our students saddled with a lifetime of debt.
The Oakland teachers strike is a fight that affects us all, and many AFT 1493 members have expressed an interest in supporting it. Here are some ways you can help;
The most important action supporters can take is to walk picket lines with Oakland teachers. Click here if you are able to join the picket line. Once you sign up, you will be contacted by the CFT with opportunities to join other CFT members in solidarity actions.
Friday, March 1st picket support:
The school board is having yet another special meeting to pass budget cuts for next school year. Let’s show up in a major to shut their meeting down because there is no business as usual until they settle a fair contract!
AFT 1493 VP Katharine Harer shared why she was out on the picket line on day 7 of the Oakland teachers strike: “I support what the Oakland teachers are struggling to get, not just being paid better…but also lower class sizes, and getting more counselors and nurses and resources to help the kids” :
AFT 1493 members joined Oakland striking teachers at United for Success Academy on Thursday, February 21
Donate to the OEA Membership Assistance Fund:
OEA has set up a fund to provide financial support to assist their most vulnerable members in the event of a prolonged strike. Our local is already in the process of donating to the fund, and we ask that you consider doing the same.
Donate to Bread for Ed:
Bread for Ed is a coalition effort to provide food for those students and teachers who won’t have access to such resources if they stay out as a result of the strike. There are 37,000 students in the district, the vast majority of whom depend on free or reduced priced lunches.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Your AFT 1493 Executive Committee