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Teachers Strike in Oakland After Contract Talks Break Down

February 16, 1996| Associated Press

Oakland public school teachers went on strike Thursday, but authorities promised to keep schools open for the district's 50,000 students by using administrators and substitutes.

The 3,500-member Oakland Education Assn. has been working without a contract for more than a year. Class size, salaries and the early retirement program have been key sticking points.

"When it comes to the education of our children, we've all received a failing grade," said picket Louella Harris. "We've got to do a better job."

District spokeswoman Sherri Willis blamed the union; the strike followed a week of sluggish talks.

"They left. They didn't declare an impasse. They just said there's not enough progress . . . even though they were the ones who called for around-the-clock negotiations," Willis said.

Both sides agreed to a mediator's request to meet again Saturday.

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