Seattle Schools teachers authorize strike, first day of class officially delayed

Sep 6, 2022, 1:33 PM | Updated: 4:56 pm
An informational picket outside SPS district headquarters (KIRO Newsradio)
(KIRO Newsradio)

Update: Seattle Public Schools will not start school tomorrow, Sept. 7, because of a planned work stoppage by Seattle Education Association (SEA).

The teachers of Seattle Public Schools have voted overwhelmingly to strike over contract negotiations with the district.

The members of their union, the SEA, voted Tuesday on a 95% margin to authorize a strike unless the district comes to an agreement by Wednesday morning.

Seattle teachers ready for final days of bargaining as strike looms

“Our strike authorization vote did close. Members spoke very loudly,” SEA President Jennifer Matter said before the union Tuesday.

“We had 75% of our membership voting. 95% of them voted to authorize a strike. So if the tentative agreement has not been reached before tomorrow, our members will be on picket lines in front of their worksite starting as early as 7:30 a.m. tomorrow morning and picketing till our bargaining teams reach a tentative agreement.”

Seattle parents have been split over the strike, with some standing behind the teachers’ demands for smaller class sizes and higher pay, no matter how long the strike takes.

“I think that teachers deserve everything that they asked for teachers are the bedrock of a fundament of our society to make everyone better,” one parent said in an interview with KIRO NewsRadio.

Other parents are worried their kids’ education will suffer if school is delayed too long.

“I mean, I kind of understand the teachers position, but I was hoping they can reach agreement as soon as possible,” another parent said.

The district has yet to officially cancel the first day of class, saying “if the first day of school is delayed, we will update families and staff as soon as possible,” per the district’s web page.

There are 6,000 Seattle Public Schools staff who belong to SEA. Seattle Public Schools is the largest school district in the state.

Teachers will be holding a community rally on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the John Stanford Center.

The district says it is working on getting free meals and child care options to families.

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Seattle Schools teachers authorize strike, first day of class officially delayed