Oakland Education Association president Keith Brown addresses picketing teachers at Manzanita Community School and Manzanita SEED, two Oakland Unified School District schools that share a campus in the Fruitvale neighborhood. (Courtesy Alec MacDonald)

Oakland teachers strike over wage dispute

A strike by Oakland Unified School District’s 3,000 teachers began Thursday as the teachers’ union calls for higher wages to address the higher cost of living in the area.

Teachers began picketing at 6:30 a.m. at various schools around the district, then gathered for a news conference outside Manzanita Community School about an hour later.

“For two years, we have been negotiating with the Oakland Unified School District to make our students a priority,” said Keith Brown, president of the Oakland Education Association union. “It’s time for the district to listen to the community.”

The union is seeking a 12 percent pay raise over three years. The district previously offered a 5 percent raise over three years and earlier this week raised it to 8.5 percent over four years, but Brown said that’s not enough to address the high cost of living in Oakland.

The two sides will meet again for negotiations on Friday morning.

Later on Thursday, teachers and their supporters plan to hold a rally at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza around 11:30 a.m. and then will march to the school district’s headquarters at 1000 Broadway.

According to the district, all schools are staying open during the strike.

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