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Oakland High School teachers plan work stoppage

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Oakland High School teachers are planning a work stoppage Monday with a march to City Hall to call attention to the bargaining impasse between the school district and the teacher’s union, organizers said.

The work stoppage is not a sanctioned union event, but organizers including Oakland High School English teacher Miles Murray said, “We felt it was time to go out ahead of them.”

“People were sick of the very slow moving and uninspiring actions being proposed by the union itself,” Murray added.

He said without the action teachers face either a poor settlement or a stressful strike so he and others feel something must be done.

A call to the union was not returned tonight.

Murray also placed some responsibility on the district, whose negotiators he said have stalled and disrespected the union.

Murray said teachers in the district have been without a contract for about two years and teachers’ wages are the lowest in the San Francisco Bay Area and possibly the lowest in the state.

“That is definitely the feeling,” he said.

A majority of the teachers at Oakland High School support the stoppage.

“We’re at an impasse,” Oakland High School science department chair Suzi LeBaron said.

She said the district is proposing a 1 percent raise per year over five years, which amounts to about $70 annually for her. She said bargaining hasn’t gone any further than that.

Organizers of the stoppage have no beef with school administrators.

“Oakland High is a fantastic school,” LeBaron said. She added that the principal makes good choices, but the district is a whole different story.

Organizers are hoping Mayor Libby Schaaf will take time to speak with them Monday.

Murray said teachers planning to attend the walkout want a raise that’s commensurate with their status as teachers and in line with inflation.

“We want to live where we teach,” he said, a sentiment expressed by teachers in San Francisco as well.

He said teacher’s pay should reflect all the work teachers do at home, the training teachers receive and the dedication that it takes to stay in the profession.

The Oakland Unified School District this evening did not have a comment on the stoppage.

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