Oakland Teachers Union OEA Executive Board endorsed Occupy Oakland’s November 2 “General Strike/Mass Day of Action”

Categories: Solidarity Statements

Occupy Oakland General Strike November 2, 2011

In a unanimous vote on 10/28/11, the OEA Executive Board endorsed Occupy Oakland’s November 2 “General Strike/Mass Day of Action” and is urging members to participate in a variety of ways, including taking personal leave to join actions at Frank Ogawa Plaza, doing informational picketing at school sites, and holding teach-ins on the history of general strikes and organizing for economic justice.

Faced with growing class sizes and dwindling resources, school closures, and the ongoing attempts of charter management companies to entice Oakland schools to convert to charters, it is critical that we link our struggles with those of the 99% of Americans fighting for social and economic justice. It is simply wrong that banks and corporations are bailed out and continue to reap huge profits, while schools and social services suffer.

Join us on November 2nd, in solidarity with Occupy Movements across the globe!


Betty Olson-Jones
OEA President

FAQ’s- Nov. 2nd strike questions – OEA responses

Thank you to OEA members who responded to the email blast with questions!

    MEMO:  Won’t the loss of ADA adversely affect our school budget? Children are required to be at school in order to maintain ADA for that day. If parents choose to bring their children to school in the morning and then take them out at some point, that is their choice.

Q: Jennifer Dunn asked: “What is the OEA stance on this (General Strike) right now?”

A: Oakland Education Association supports the General Strike and encourages OEA members to participate in a variety of ways on Nov. 2nd.

Q: Rasheeda Turner asked: “What is the purpose (of the General Strike)?”  “What are we hoping will change as a result of this one day strike?”

A: Teachers in Oakland teach the 99%, and are themselves part of the 99%. This is evident in the cuts to education, healthcare, services, home foreclosures, etc. that we  witness in Oakland on an ongoing basis. Part of teaching is advocating for our students in the broader context. We hope that linking our struggle to this movement that is getting worldwide attention will force policy changes that will benefit all of us.

Q: Samia Khattab: “Why would we strike? Is it to show solidarity? Is it to protest the heavy handed response from the OPD? Or are we striking because of recent board decision?”

Q: Kamila Weaver: “@ Foster I feel like this is happening very quickly and I don’t fully understand why we would be striking and what we hope to accomplish by it.”

Q: Daniel Crew asked: “I personally think it is quite a pull to get all of us to agree to a strike without it being explicit to our contract.  Is it even legal?”

A: Although Oakland Education Association is strike legal, OEA is not calling a strike action against OUSD.  OEA is supporting the Occupy Oakland call for a mass action and support this call by encouraging our members to participate.

Q: Dennis asked: “What are potential employment consequences for wildcatters?”

A: Unauthorized striking may result in no pay for that day, and possible discipline. OEA would work through any problems employees encounter with the district.  OEA has met with OUSD on this particular action, and OUSD said they will recognize use of personal days to support this action, provided a substitute teacher is secured.

Q: Katie @ Skyline: “How is the message getting to each school so that we have an impact??”

A: In a variety of ways. The message has gone out to OEA site reps via cluster calls. There will be constant contact messages, auto dialer messages, and information will be posted on the website as well as on our Twitter feed.

Q: Tessa Strauss asked: “What do we tell our students’ families?  Should they be sending their kids to school that day?”

A: School is in session on Nov. 2nd.  Every OEA member who plans to take Personal Leave to participate in the General Strike is responsible to ensure a substitute or alternative classroom coverage to supervise students.  OEA members participating in the General Strike should request a sub ASAP, or by the end of the school day on Monday, Oct. 31st.  OEA members should inform parents that school is in session on Nov. 2nd and inform parents of your individual plan (have a sub, have another teacher cover your class) and recommend parents make the personal decision whether to send their child to school or not on Nov. 2nd.

Q: Perry asks: “Has OEA talked about putting out a call for teach-ins at all? If the strike doesn’t pass, I think it would be a great way for us to participate on Wednesday.”

A: Yes, there is a tremendous educational opportunity here and by all means it shouldn’t be squandered.

Q: Jennifer Dannenberg: “What precautions against violent action by protestors and/or police can be taken?”

A: OEA has been working with labor council, faith based and community groups and have met with the Mayor and Chief of Police to try to ensure safety.  Occupy Oakland protestors have been working to ensure peaceful and productive demonstrations.

Q: Tessa Strauss @ Ascent asks: “I’m wondering what our rights and protections are—I know most contracts have strike clauses. Would we be organizing teachers to take personal days together, have to get our principal on board and have all teachers agree to strike together and take the risk, etc—“

Q: Carrie Anderson asks: What are the technicalities of not being at work? Take a sick day or what? What do we tell our principal?

A: By all means, let your principal know that you intend to take a personal day and assure him or her that you have made arrangements with a substitute teacher. This needs to be put in writing by Monday. As for us having all teachers agree to strike together, we’re happy to hear it.

Every member must make a personal decision about Wednesday. Staff should reach consensus about coverage and site plan.

Q: Alykhan@EOSA: “How do we integrate students? Can they come with us?”

Q: Fatima@EOSA: “Will it be a walk-out for students, or a no-show for students who are participating in the strike?”

A: We can integrate students by educating them about the occupy movements and recent events that have occurred locally and nationally. OEA members cannot and should not take students to the General Strike as a field trip.  OEA has not organized with secondary students to implement a student walk-out or student no-show. OEA is not aware of any potential students to organize these types of actions.

Q: I don’t want to use my personal leave, can I take a sick day?

A: NO! THAT IS FRAUD. Take personal leave or leave without pay.  Do not take sick leave!


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