Striking Teachers Shut Down Port Of Oakland; Longshoremen Honor Picket Line – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Hundreds of teachers, parents, students and their supporters took the streets of Oakland Friday for a one-day strike, dramatically voicing their anger at the school district’s consolidation plans.

They even brought work to a halt at the busy Port of Oakland as unionized longshoremen honored a picket line at the front gates and went home instead of reporting for their evening shift.

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“We’re all going to go home,” said Bob Pohl, a longshoreman and a member of ILWU Local 10. “We’re going to lose a day’s pay, but it’s worth losing a day’s pay for the cause.”

Among the picketers was eight-year-old Isadora Karjian, a student at Manzanita Seed Elementary, who was with her parents. Her resolve reflected the mood.

“I will hope that this will teach OUSD that they shouldn’t mess with us,” the young girl said.

Pohl and fellow longshoreman were honoring the picket lines and supported the teachers, saying they have a common goal: Stop privatization of public resources.

The teachers want to stop school closures and prevent more charter schools from opening. The longshoremen want to stop the Oakland A’s from building a ballpark at the Howard Terminal.

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“United we stand, divided we fall,” Pohl said. “You know, it’s solidarity issue.”

“The Port of Oakland is public land, just like OUSD property is public land,” said Marika Iyer, an English and Ethnic Studies teacher at Oakland High School.

Oakland Unified will close or merge 11 schools in the next two years. Officials claim they are facing a multi-million-dollar budget deficit, partly because the district has way too many schools. Compounding the issue is the fact that the district has lost about 15,000 students in the last 20 years.

District officials said it has about 80 schools serving 33,000 students. They pointed out Fremont Unified, for example, has roughly half the schools and more students, 42 schools with about 34,000 students. San Jose Unified has 41 schools serving 30,000 students and Stockton Unified has 48 public schools and 35,000 students.

But strikers claimed the issue was more than mere numbers.

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“Most of the schools are in our neighborhoods,” said Timothy Killings, an OUSD educator and parent. “When you close them down, students have to walk miles to go to new schools. And majority of the schools are Black schools.”

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