FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2019, file photo, teachers carry placards as they walk a picket line outside South High School in Denver. The union representing Oakland, California teachers says it will issue a "major announcement" Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, about a potential strike, a day after a neutral fact-finding report was to be issued. Denver teachers ended a three-day walkout and returned to their classrooms Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

California teachers say announcement on strike coming

February 15, 2019 - 7:28 pm

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The union representing teachers in Oakland, California, says it will make an announcement Saturday about a potential strike, a day after a neutral fact-finding report was issued.

The Oakland teachers' union could announce Saturday whether its 3,000 members will strike after negotiating and failing to reach agreement with the Oakland Unified School District for more than a year.

Teachers in the district say they are paid below their peers it the area, which has one of the highest cost-of-living rates in the nation. They are seeking a 12 percent raise over three years as well as smaller class sizes. The district has offered five percent and says it is squeezed by smaller budgets and declining enrollment.

A strike in the city of 400,000 across the bay from San Francisco would follow one by Denver teachers, who ended a three-day walkout after their union reached a tentative deal Thursday.

The strike in Colorado was the latest win in a national movement by teachers demanding better wages and classroom reforms. Teachers in the nation's largest school district, Los Angeles, reached a deal following a six-day strike in January.

Meanwhile, the teachers' union in Sacramento, California voted Thursday night to seek authorization from members for a strike there, the Sacramento Bee reported Friday.

In Oakland, a fact-finding report from the Public Employment Relations Board was due Friday, with recommendations for compromise.

Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in a message posted to the district's website that she was "pleased with the recommendations" and hope to use the report to bring the union back to bargaining.

Union officials did not return repeated calls from The Associated Press Friday.

But Chaz Garcia, the union's second vice president, told the San Francisco Chronicle that members are not waiting for another offer from the district based on the report. "We're going to make our decision based on the fact-finding report and what we feel is best for our students and teachers," Garcia said.

The union said it will release the fact-finding report at its news conference Saturday.

The city of Oakland is preparing for a strike, although Mayor Libby Schaaf is urging both sides to continue negotiating to avoid a walkout. The city plans to open recreation centers and all public libraries for the families of about 37,000 students in the district who would be affected by a strike.


This story has been corrected to show the number of members who belong to the union.

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