Seattle Teachers Threaten To Strike | KUOW News and Information

Seattle Teachers Threaten To Strike

Sep 3, 2015

Seattle teachers haven't gone on strike over a contract negotiation since 1985.

But Seattle Education Association Vice President Phyllis Campano says with school less than a week away, the district and union are far apart on too many issues.

"The school board needs to take this seriously. Because we want to get a tentative agreement, and we want kids in the classroom on the first day of school," Campano said.

Seattle Public Schools teachers will vote Thursday evening whether to call a strike. Teachers in red t-shirts picketed outside schools across the city Wednesday to practice for a walkout.

One major issue is pay. The district has proposed a 2- to 3-percent raise each year for three years. The union wants 6 percent a year.

The district has asked the union for a 30-minute-longer school day. But Hawthorne Elementary School reading teacher Oveta Hunter says that wouldn't come with extra pay.

"And I think it's unfair that they would assume that we would do that, because you don't get hired for a job and say, ‘OK, you're going to work for a certain amount of time, but you're also gonna volunteer some of your time, too.'"

Teachers are also calling for at least 30 minutes of recess in elementary schools, and lower case loads for specialists like speech therapists.

The school district isn't giving interviews about the bargaining process.

But the district did take the unusual move of posting official union and district bargaining proposals on its website late Wednesday.

The union is slated to vote this evening whether to authorize a strike.

School is supposed to begin next Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Washington, Pasco teachers are in the third day of a strike. And teachers still don't have contracts in Spokane, Kelso or Prosser.