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Oakland teachers union, district make “progress” on Covid safety plan; negotiations to continue

Negotiations between Oakland Unified’s teachers union, the Oakland Education Association, and the district are slated to continue through the night over a new Covid safety plan ahead of a potential strike.

The district and union have been in talks since Thursday, and have been inching towards a full agreement, OEA president Keith Brown told Edsource. The district has already agreed to two of the union’s key requests, Brown said: providing KN95 and N95 masks to all students and staff for the remainder of the year, and offering access to weekly Covid testing to all students and staff.

Both sides are still hung up on the union’s third key demand, which is providing coverage for staff absences, Brown said. OEA also plans to advocate for improved ventilation and outdoor seating for students.

Brown said both parties are “making progress,” and chalked up the success of the negotiations thus far to the protests by students, staff and families over the past few weeks shedding light on safety concerns.

“The activism of our students and the grassroots activism that has happened over the last two weeks has really brought a sense of urgency,” Brown said.

If talks break off after tonight without an agreement, Brown said the union’s executive board has authorized him to bring a strike vote to OEA members as soon as Monday. If the parties come to an agreement, the union will vote whether or not to ratify it.


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