California Educator

June/July 2022

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Bargaining Roundup Compiled by Julian Peeples OAKLAND: Educators Go on One-Day ULP Strike Oakland educators went on a one-day unfair labor practice (ULP) strike in late-April for the schools their students deserve. The strikes came after Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) failed to follow its 2019 agreement with Oakland Education Association (OEA) to engage with families when considering closing schools. Despite the agree- ment, widespread outcry from families to stop school closures and a complaint filed by the ACLU of Northern California on behalf of the Justice for Oakland Students Coalition, 11 schools are scheduled to close by the end of next year — three this year and eight the following year. OUSD has a history of closing schools in predomi- nantly Black and Brown communities. Ending school closures was a top priority in the 2019 strike, resulting in the agreement that OUSD is now blatantly disregarding. The district also refused to bargain the closures. "Let's be clear — educators don't want to strike, but we are because OUSD has forced us to fight to protect the schools our Black and Brown students deserve," OEA President Keith Brown said the morning of the strike. "Rather than putting their resources towards unilaterally closing schools, OUSD should be acting as a respected governing body of learning and walking the walk to sup- port the future of Oakland's families." In February, the Oakland School Board voted to close 11 schools only a week after making the proposal public. Massive community outcry followed, including a rally/ march in downtown Oakland and a hunger strike by two Oakland educators. Despite the pleas of students, families and school communities, the school board reaf- firmed its decision to close schools as soon as the end of this school year, refusing to consider alternatives or delay the decision. "We find ourselves facing a majority school board that has gone back on its promise to not ambush a school with a last-minute closure," Brown said. "Enough is enough. We need to stop the school closures. As labor and community, we are united for the schools our stu- dents deserve!" UNITE SUMMIT: Educators Win First-ever Contract After more than two years of fighting for respect, Unite Summit educators at seven Summit Public Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area won their first-ever union contract. The victory came after Unite Summit members organized and escalated their activism, voting to authorize a strike in March and picketing outside Summit's home o•ice. "Our goal was to reach an agreement that would help to counter high teacher turnover and provide our students with additional support," said Janine Peñafort, president of Unite Summit. " This contract was a long time coming, but in the end, we achieved our goals. We look forward to a productive and collaborative relationship with Summit." The contract includes: • New standards to support English language learners, including class size caps for middle and high school, along with a stipend for educators who teach those classes. • Four weeks of fully paid parental leave. • Fair discipline and dismissal policies that allow teachers to advocate for their students without fear of retaliation. • A fair salary schedule that replaces a subjective "merit-based" pay system. • Provisions that will help to create greater mental health supports on Summit's campuses. • A 40-hour workweek that includes duty-free lunches. 35 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 2 A

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