More than a week after educators first hit the picket line, the Oakland Education Association, which represents public school teachers in Oakland, California, announced Monday morning it has reached a tentative agreement with the Oakland Unified School District, ending the strike and sending some 35,000 students back to class.
Schools will be open on Monday, but teachers are not required to return to their classrooms until Tuesday, the Oakland Unified School District said in a statement sent to parents.
Union leaders celebrated the agreement in a statement.
“Beyond the economic gains, this hard-fought tentative agreement, if ratified by our members, will help ensure that educators, parents, students and other stakeholders have a voice in the decision-making process,” said Kampala Taiz-Rancifer, vice president of the Oakland Education Association, in the statement.
According to the union statement, the 2.5-year tentative agreement with the school district includes a 15.5 percent salary increase for most teachers, retroactive pay, and bilingual stipends for teachers who can speak multiple languages. The agreement will also add school counselors to elementary schools for the first time and additional support staff, including school librarians, guidance counselors, and school nurses, according to the union.
The parties announced over the weekend they had also come to an agreement on four “common good” demands on support for unhoused and housing insecure students, shared governance for community schools, support for Historically Black Schools, and processes for school closures.
“This tentative agreement is about a teacher being able to put bread on their table and it is also about feeding young minds,” said Oakland Education Association president Ismael Armendariz in the statement. “It’s about more than a paycheck, it’s about the common good.”
The school district did not comment on the details of the tentative agreement Monday morning, but announced they would hold a news conference in the afternoon.
Teachers went on strike on May 4 after contract negotiations with Oakland Unified School District, in which they were seeking higher pay and more efforts to address social concerns, failed to yield a deal. The strike was Oakland teachers’ second strike in four years.