The first day for public school students in Seattle, Washington is delayed after its teachers union became the latest in recent weeks to vote to go on strike.
The Seattle Education Association, which represents about 6,000 employees, including teachers and other school professionals, is demanding workload balance and class size controls, in addition to better compensation.
The strike began at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, the same day school was scheduled to start for Seattle Public Schools’ 50,000 students.
Here's a look at coverage of the scene in the district today:
'What they are doing is unconscionable' Seattle teachers strike on first day of school'What they are doing is unconscionable' Seattle teachers strike on first day of school
“No one wants to strike,” Seattle Education Association President Jennifer Matter said. “But SPS has given us no choice. We can't go back to the way things have been.”
It is unclear which terms are sticking points between what SEA members are asking for and what SPS is offering. Negotiations have been going on for months.
You can read the SEA proposals online at washingtonea.org. You can read the SPS offers online at seattleschools.org under “Collective Bargaining Updates.”
The district said in an email to parents that it was “optimistic the bargaining teams will come to a positive solution for students, staff, and families.”
Districts around the country have faced labor challenges as the pandemic put extraordinary stress on teachers and students alike. An infusion of federal stimulus money has helped stabilize school district budgets, and teachers unions have sought to improve pay, resources and working conditions after a difficult few years.
Technically, public employees do not have a legally protected right to strike in Washington state. But there are no specified penalties for striking unless a judge orders them, which they don’t always do. Districts can and have taken teachers unions to court over the legality of striking, and won.