Teacher Strikes: Getting Warm in Seattle, Much Hotter In Pasco | KUOW News and Information

Teacher Strikes: Getting Warm in Seattle, Much Hotter In Pasco

Sep 11, 2015

Seattle teachers' strike is entering day three, and so far the tone has been pretty laid back, with teachers even singing. But when are things going to heat up?

They already are in Pasco, where the teachers' strike is leading to a contempt-of-court hearing Friday.

A Franklin County judge has decided that Pasco's strike is causing “great harm to the district, which is substantial, immediate and irreparable.”

The judge says teachers’ strikes are illegal and he's ordered them to work.

Kathleen Barnard, a labor lawyer in Seattle, is surprised by the decision. She says the jury is out on whether teachers' strikes are illegal. “A court shouldn’t order people to go to work against their will – we banished slavery some time ago,” she said.

And the order hasn't worked, so the judge is upping the ante Friday afternoon. He'll consider fining the Pasco teachers union – something like $4,000 a day.

Greg Olson, the union's president, says the fines won't stop the strike either. “We know that this is the right thing to do," he said. "And we're going to try to go as far as we can with this."

Olson says the Pasco teachers are looking for a way to challenge the rulings.

In Seattle, Barnard says it would be interesting to see what the state appeals court decides about the idea that a teachers' strike is illegal.

So far there isn't an official challenge to the Seattle teachers' right to strike.