After more than a year and a half without a contract, Oakland teachers are preparing to vote on a strike. But teachers frustrated with how slowly the formal bargaining process works say they want to show the district they're willing to strike. So for the second time in two months some teachers plan to call in sick en masse Friday in what they’re calling a "sickout."
"Oakland teachers are sick," said Life Academy of Health and Bioscience teacher Matt Hayes, “sick of being underappreciated, sick of the low pay. We’re walking out tomorrow because we want to show the district we want a fair contract and we want it now.”
Hayes listed grievances that ranged from the proliferation of charter schools in Oakland to the state of school facilities. He has helped organize the action and says he's heard from teachers at 10 schools who plan to take part, plus students and parents.
They plan to hold a rally in front of Oakland Technical High School from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then march to the Oakland Unified School District office, where they plan to rally into the afternoon.
In a letter to staff sent this week, district officials reminded teachers the action is illegal, writing: "Teachers participating in sick-outs will be subject to disciplinary action and will lose pay for time missed as these coordinated actions present significant safety and instructional problems for our students."