Seattle teachers could begin strike on first day of school

Aug 28, 2018, 8:50 PM | Updated: Aug 29, 2018, 8:41 am

Seattle teachers voted Tuesday night to go on strike if the district and the union can’t reach an agreement on a new contract.

After months of bargaining, thousands of teachers packed Benaroya Hall to vote on the strike authorization. If a deal isn’t done by Labor Day, teachers have said they’ll strike on the first day of school September 5. The educators was a 15 percent raise, and health insurance for substitute teachers who work 15 days a month.

“We value the work that our educators do, and we want to make sure they are provided an adequate and competent salary,” Seattle Superintendent Denise Juneau told KIRO 7.

RELATED: Why Washington teachers are preparing to strike amid new education funding

Seattle teachers currently earn between $50,600 and $100,000 annually.

“We are going to lose educators. You can go to Edmonds and make $16,000 to $20,000 dollars more a year. Bellevue you’re going to make more, Lake Washington, so we have to be competitive,” Phyllis Campano, Seattle Education Association President, told KIRO 7.

Teacher strikes in Washington

Kent teachers reached a tentative agreement with their school district Wednesday, just in time for the first day of classes on Thursday. Teachers will vote at 4 p.m. Wednesday on the proposal.

Teachers in Sultan voted in favor of a strike if they don’t reach an agreement for better pay with their school district by Friday. Mount Vernon teachers authorized a strike if they don’t get a contract by September 4. Classes are scheduled to begin on September 5 in Sultan and Mount Vernon.

Vancouver and La Conner teachers voted to strike, too, starting on Wednesday — the first day of classes in Vancouver. Classes in La Conner are slated to start August 29.

Shoreline Education Association members negotiated the top teacher salary in the state with an average 24.2 percent increase, according to the Washington Education Association. The top of the scale is now $120,234. Last fall, the salary for first-year teachers in Edmonds was already 13 percent higher than Seattle’s.

Over 150 school districts across the state are still in negotiations just days before the first day of school.

KIRO 7 contributed to this report

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