Seattle teachers ratify new agreement with district

Sep 20, 2022, 8:50 AM | Updated: 9:54 am

teachers strike...

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

The Seattle teachers’ strike will not resume. The union, the Seattle Education Association (SEA), announced it had ratified a new contract with Seattle Public Schools, with more than 4,000 educators voting to confirm the new contract.

It comes after the SEA voted to suspend their five-day strike on Sept. 13, and classes resumed a day afterward.

Seattle teachers back in classroom, but no timeline yet for contract vote

“We apologize for the frustration and anxiety the delay is causing students and families,” Seattle Public Schools wrote in a press release last week. “We know families feel the strain and burden of this process. We want school to begin as soon as possible.”

Teachers cited more support for special and multilingual education, smaller class sizes, and competitive pay as their most significant reasons for striking.

In some details released by SEA about the tentative contract agreement, all educators and school staff represented by the union will receive a 7% raise in the first year, followed by a 4% raise in 2023-24 and a 3% raise in 2024-25.  If the cost-of-living increase is higher than 4% or 3% in years two and three of the contract, the wage increase will go up to match the cost-of-living increase.

It also creates new staff positions in mental health support for students.

An additional 0.5 full-time social workers will be added to each comprehensive K-8, middle, and high school this school year.

Five additional certified nurses and added speech-language specialists will bring the ratio to 1 specialist for every 46 students this year and 1 specialist for every 44 students in the following two years.

There were signs of disagreement on the contract among union members. Just 57% of those who voted Sept. 13 approved of suspending the teacher strike. Not long after, some teachers, like those at Aki Kurose Middle School, took to social media urging their colleagues to vote “no.”

When asked about disagreement on the contract, the union told KIRO Newsradio in an email, “Every member has the right to review the tentative agreement and vote on it. Our Bargaining Team recommends a yes vote to approve the tentative agreement.”

The contract would create more than $200 million in additional costs for the district. Board members voiced concerns about continued budget shortfalls at last week’s budget meeting. Another budget meeting is set for October.

If teachers do approve the contract, the Seattle School Board would also need to vote on the contract before it formally goes into effect.

MyNorthwest will update this article with the latest details throughout the day.

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Seattle teachers ratify new agreement with district