Seattle Public Schools union reaches tentative contract on first day of school

Sep 6, 2023, 12:53 PM

Seattle schools...

Seattle Public Schools logo. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7 TV)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7 TV)

The same day that Seattle Public School (SPS) students returned to classes, the district also reached a tentative contract agreement with portions of their unionized staff.

In an announcement on SPS’ website, the district confirmed a tentative agreement had been reached with Local 302 International Union of Operating Engineers, which represents custodians, culinary services workers, grounds employees, security personnel, and alarm monitor teams that work for the district.

More labor news: Elysian Brewing workers at Georgetown brewery vote to unionize

“SPS appreciates all the hard work of both bargaining teams to reach a tentative agreement,” Bev Redmond, Chief of Staff at Seattle Public Schools, said in the announcement. “We are excited to have the members of Local 302 join us as we welcome our students, families, staff, and community partners for the 2023-24 school year …”

The contract the union staff was operating under expired at the end of August, and as school restarts for Seattle youth, the contract negotiations come just in time.

The main point of negotiation for the union was pay issues, with The Seattle Times reporting the workers represented by Local 302 are some of the lowest-paid in the district. No details have been released about the tentative agreement.

Seattle Schools: Buses ready for new year despite past hiccups

The school district also made a point to note that “it is not unusual to go past the contract end date for these negotiations.”

Local 302 said that their team was “hard at work negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement” in their Labor Day update on negotiations.

“Thanks to our members who joined the solidarity rally at the June 2023 school board meeting,” the update said. “We also appreciate the solidarity from other Local 302 units for showing support for bargaining a fair SPS contract.”

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Seattle Public Schools union reaches tentative contract on first day of school